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 Criminalisng Buying Sex in Canada

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 Reducing prostitution by endangering sex workers
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6th November
2014

 Update: Dangerous Lawmakers...

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Canada's senate passes new government law to endanger sex workers
canadian senate Canada's Conservative government's callous anti-prostitution bill passed third reading in the Senate on Tuesday and requires only royal assent to become law.

The government had wanted to get the bill through the legislative process by the middle of this month, so it could become law by December. That would meet the deadline imposed by the Supreme Court of Canada when it struck down existing laws as unconstitutional last year.

The court found the laws violated the charter rights of sex workers because they were criminally prohibited from taking measures to keep themselves safe. Now they will be prevented from taking measures to keep themselves safe by their customers fearing prosecution and so requiring more secretive and remote locations.

The Sex Professionals of Canada says the new set of laws won't improve things and will ensure violence against sex workers continues in Canada. In a statement on its website, the group says keeping criminalization in place will continue the stigma and social exclusion of sex workers. The group also said it plans to continue to fight for rights for sex workers, saying this isn't over!

 

12th November
2014

 Update: Men paying for sex criminalised and the girls will pay for it...

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Canada signs bill into law that seems designed to endanger sex workers

Canada flag Bill C-36, the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act, was signed into Canadian law last week.

The law nominally legalises the sale of sex. Interactions and communications between prostitutes and customers, however, remain illegal. And so has become the purchase of sex.

Unfortunately for sex workers, because their customers are criminalised, the men will resist such basic safety measures such as providing ID just in case of trouble. Fearful customers will also sensibly insist more anonymous locations so as to minimise the risks of being discovered.

 

8th December
2014

 Update: Dangerous Law...

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Ontario premier criticises new national law endangering sex workers and criminalising customers
ontario logo Ontario's premier has entered the debate over Canada's repressive new prostitution law a day after it took effect, adding her voice to a growing number of groups concerned for sex workers' safety.

Kathleen Wynne issued a statement Sunday saying she has a grave concern that the new rules dealing with prostitution won't be any better than the old system when it comes to protecting prostitutes from harm.

I am not an expert, and I am not a lawyer, but as premier of this province, I am concerned that this legislation (now the law of the land) will not make sex workers safer.

Wynne said she has asked the province's attorney general to advise her on the legislation's constitutional validity in light of the Supreme Court of Canada ruling quashing the old law, and for options in case its Charter compatibility is questioned, but stopped short of saying the province wouldn't follow the new rules:

We must enforce duly enacted legislation, but I believe that we must also take steps to satisfy ourselves that, in doing so, we are upholding the constitution and the Charter.

Meanwhile Vancouver Police don't seem impressed by the new law

See  article from  theglobeandmail.com

vancouver police logo New federal anti-prostitution laws criminalizing the purchase of sex will be in effect as of Saturday, but the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) have no plans for a crackdown.

Sex work involving consenting adults is not an enforcement priority for the VPD, the police department's sex-work enforcement guidelines say.

Our priority will remain the safety of sex workers, VPD spokesman Sergeant Randy Fincham said.

Sex-worker advocacy groups argue the new law will put outdoor sex workers in danger.  Laura Dilley, executive director of PACE (Providing Alternatives, Counselling and Education) Society explained:

They won't be able to go to public places to screen clients adequately because the clients are worried their information will get to police.

The VPD is known as a progressive police force for adopting harm-reduction strategies for marijuana and sex work.

 

8th March
2015

 Offsite Article: So Far So Good...

montreal logo Hundreds of erotic massage brothels flourishing in Montreal despite federal anti-prostitution law

See article from news.nationalpost.com

 

5th December
2015

 Update: A safer pair of hands...

Canada's new justice minister plans to rethink current laws that endanger sex workers

jody wilson-raybould Newly appointed Federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould has set her sights on repealing Canada's anti-sex work laws. Maclean's reports that Canada's new anti-sex work laws are one of three major priorities for the Minister.

The current law is called the Protecting Communities and Exploited Persons Act (PCEPA). It came into effect in December 2014 as a result of the Supreme Court's Bedford decision scrapping previous legislation. Unfortunately the replacement was worse.

PCEPA brought back several laws found unconstitutional in the Bedford decision. It also created a new anti-advertising provision that bans ads for sexual services. The laws were created as a Canadian version of the Swedish Model. The Canadian Bar Association has stated that PCEPA would also likely be struck down by the Supreme Court, according to The Tyee . More information on the harms associated with the Swedish Model can be found in NSWP's Advocacy Toolkit .

The Justice Minister has stated that she will be consulting directly with sex workers in her review of the anti-sex work laws. I definitely am committed to reviewing the prostitution laws, and sitting down with my officials to assess the best options, and with those they affect directly, Wilson-Raybould told The Tyee . In an interview with Maclean's, she went on to say that the safety of the workers is fundamentally important.

Canadian Parliament resumes on December 3, 2015. It will be the first Parliamentary session of the newly elected Liberal government. A throne speech the following day may gives further clues as to the agenda of the new government. Sex workers and their allies hope to hear the Liberal promise to repeal PCEPA included.

 

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