Demands grow for Canada to decriminalize sex work after the election

Protestors are seen during rally at Allan Gardens in Toronto. . THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Blinch

More than 150 human rights groups are calling on whichever federal party forms the government after the next election to decriminalize sex work as a way to protect the health and safety of those involved in the industry. 


“Every aspect of sex work is criminalized, which means that sex workers are unable to access social, legal and sexual health supports, should they need them,” said Sandeep Prasad, executive director of Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights, in a statement released this week.

“Ultimately, decriminalization is a first step to ensuring sex workers’ safety and dignity, which means creating spaces where they can work in a way that they feel safe and not isolated.”

The statement has been signed by organizations across Canada including the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre, and a number of sex worker rights groups.

It comes as legislation to decriminalize sex work has been put forward in the U.S. in places such as New York and Washington, D.C.

A number of current U.S. presidential candidates, including Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, have also expressed support for the decriminalization of sex workers.

So far this election cycle in Canada, only the Green Party has made an explicit platform promise to overhaul Canada’s sex work laws. And the Liberals are being criticized for not tackling the issue during their time in government.

Demands grow for Canada to decriminalize sex work after the election
Posted on 2019-10-03
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In the news