An escort is silhouetted against a window as she poses at a downtown Vancouver apartment, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017. An alliance of 25 sex worker rights groups says the Criminal Code violate sex workers’ constitutional rights to security, personal autonomy, life, liberty, free expression, free association, and equality. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

An escort is silhouetted against a window as she poses at a downtown Vancouver apartment, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017. An alliance of 25 sex worker rights groups says the Criminal Code violate sex workers’ constitutional rights to security, personal autonomy, life, liberty, free expression, free association, and equality. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Criminal laws violate charter rights of sex workers, advocates say in court challenge

Canadian Alliance for Sex Work Law Reform say provisions violate sex workers’ charter rights

An alliance of 25 sex worker rights groups is asking the Ontario Court of Justice to strike down several sections of the Criminal Code as unconstitutional.

The Canadian Alliance for Sex Work Law Reform said the provisions violate sex workers’ charter rights to security, personal autonomy, life, liberty, free expression, free association and equality.

Group co-ordinator Jenn Clamen says sex workers increasingly experience the heavy hand of law enforcement as a result of the criminal provisions.

“We have been patiently waiting on the empty promises of parliamentarians to uphold the rights of sex workers,” Clamen said.

“This government has spent five years paying lip service to human rights and to feminism, and it’s time for them to act.”

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in 2013 that three prostitution prohibitions were unconstitutional because they caused harm to sex workers and contravened their rights to liberty and security.

The alliance said the Conservative government of the day missed an opportunity to make things better for sex workers and instead brought in new provisions under the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act that have had negative effects.

It said the measures prohibit sex workers from:

• negotiating conditions and establishing consent to sexual activity;

• obtaining relevant information from clients and engaging in other screening practices vital to safety;

• working in non-isolated, collective and indoor workspaces;

• and establishing important working and safety relationships with managers, receptionists, drivers and interpreters, as well as other sex workers who pool resources, services and knowledge.

NDP justice critic Randall Garrison said there has been no action from the Liberal government to protect the rights of sex workers.

He urged the government to complete a scheduled legislative review of the law passed under the Conservatives.

Sex workers have spent the last five years in a precarious position where they remain stigmatized and vulnerable to violence, he said.

“Unfortunately, there has been no action and instead advocates have had to start a court challenge to force the government to act.

Maan Alhmidi, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Starting in June, Government Street will be closed to most vehicles between Humboldt and View streets. A section of Government Street was transformed into a pedestrian-priority walkway in the wake of COVID-19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria plans 10-hour closures of Government Street come June

City’s business relief plan extended, Government St. from Humboldt to View closed noon to 10 p.m.

Cyclists cruised around Saanich at the 2017 Cycling Festival. (Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich scavenger hunt replaces annual Cycling Festival

Participants encouraged to ‘walk or roll’ to 20 secret sites, submit photo proof for prizes

As part of the province’s strategy to combat the opioid overdose crisis, take-home naloxone kits have been distributed throughout the province. (Courtesy of Gaëlle Nicolussi)
Vancouver Island could be at its worst point of overdose crises yet: medical health officer

Island Health issued overdose advisories for Victoria, various communities in the last two weeks

This photo shows crews the fire at 7987 Galbraith Cres. that caused extensive damage and displaced six residents early Sunday morning. (Central Saanich Fire/Department Twitter)
Central Saanich rallies around couple who lost home of 25 years

A GoFundMe campaign is currently underway for Carla and Brian Wallace

Police are looking for this suspect after a man was stabbed on Pandora Avenue Tuesday night. (Photo courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Police seek suspect in Victoria stabbing

The stabbing took place in the 900-block of Pandora Avenue, just before 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: Have rising prices caused you to give up hope of buying a home?

Do you have a spare 50 grand or so kicking around (have… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of April 20

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

MLA Shirley Bond, right, answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on February 19, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. gaming minister says she wasn’t told directly about dirty cash flowing to casinos

Shirley Bond said Thursday civil forfeiture, gang violence and gambling addiction were also major concerns in 2011

RCMP Constable Etsell speaks to tourists leaving the area at a police roadblock on Westside Road south of Fintry, B.C., Thursday, July 23, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Yvonne Berg
B.C. police say they take ‘exception’ to conducting roadblocks limiting travel

Asking the police to enforce roadblocks exposes officers to further risk and possible COVID-19 infections, says federation president Brian Sauve

The conservation service confirmed they do not relocate cougars from settled areas but that euthanasia is not necessarily the fate for an animal in the Fanny Bay area. The hope is that the animal will move on to wild areas. (File photo)
Woman hopes cat-stalking Fanny Bay cougar can avoid euthanization

Conservation officers do not relocate the animals from Vancouver Island

Tofino residents expressed frustration over a recent post by Long Beach Lodge owner Tim Hackett that falsely claimed all residents have been vaccinated. (Westerly file photo)
Resort owner apologizes for suggesting Tofino is safe to travel to

Long Beach Lodge owner Tim Hackett apologizes to community and visitors

BC Hydro released a survey Thursday, April 22. It found that many British Columbians are unintentionally contributing to climate change with their yard maintenance choices. (Pixabay)
Spend a lot of time doing yard work? It might be contributing to climate change

Recent BC Hydro survey finds 60% of homeowners still use gas-powered lawnmowers and yard equipment

Journal de Montreal is seen in Montreal, on Thursday, April 22, 2021. The daily newspaper uses a file picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dressed in traditional Indian clothing during his trip to India to illustrate a story on the Indian variant of the coronavirus. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Montreal newspaper blasted for front-page photo of Trudeau in India

Trudeau is wearing traditional Indian clothes and holding his hands together in prayer beside a caption that reads, ‘The Indian variant has arrived’

Most Read