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Over 60 organizations and agencies call for non-enforcement of C-36 and support full decriminalization of sex work
December 6, 2014Toronto, December 6, 2014 On December 6, 2014, a statement signed by over 60 organizations, including the Canadian AIDS Society, John Howard Society, Native Womens Resource Centre, and Ontario Aboriginal HIV/AIDS Strategy, is being released calling for:
* The repeal of Bill C-36 and the full decriminalization of sex work in Canada
* Legal and labour rights for sex workers
* Provincial and Municipal non-enforcement of Bill C-36
* The destigmatization of sex work
* The recognition of the dignity and value of sex workers
December 6th is the National Day of Remembrance and Action for Violence Against Women, the 25th anniversary of the 14 women murdered in Montreal, Quebec (1989) at l'École Polytechnique de Montréal.
Its a sad day for human rights in Canada, a sad day that will lead to more tragic outcomes for sex workers, whose Charter rights and legal freedoms are being infringed upon by Bill C-36, commented Akio Maroon, Chair, Board of Directors, Maggies Toronto Sex Workers Action Project.
I am frightened and very concerned. Im worried about losing clients, and about how I am going to be able to pay my bills. Already potential clients are hesitant to provide references or work information. I just want to be able to work safely and not worry about being harassed by police. Claire, a Toronto-based escort.
Kathleen Wynne must demonstrate her commitment to ending violence against women. C-36 will wreak havoc on the lives of sex workers and I worry that without provincial and municipal policies of non-enforcement, we will see the continuation of the epidemic of violence against sex workers in Canada, Jean McDonald, Executive Director, Maggies Toronto Sex Workers Action Project.
FULL STATEMENT AND SIGNATORIES
December 6th: National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women
December 6th is the National Day of Remembrance and Action for Violence Against Women, which commemorates the anniversary of the gender-based murders of 14 young women in Montreal, Quebec (1989) at l'École Polytechnique de Montréal. On this day we remember these 14 women who died due to gender-based violence, while addressing the ongoing violence that women face across Canada.
On December 6th 2014, the Canadian federal government will enact Bill C-36, the erroneously-named Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act, which will re-criminalize sex work while recreating the harms and violence experienced by sex workers under the previous laws criminalizing prostitution.
Bill C-36 replaces the three key provisions of the Criminal Code that were struck down by the Supreme Court on December 20, 2013 in the landmark case, Bedford v. Canada.
Bill C-36 recreates the harms of the provisions struck down in the Bedford case, allowing the epidemic of violence against sex workers to continue. Bill C-36 views all sex workers as victims of violence, rather than understanding that it is criminalization, isolation, and the denial of rights and freedoms that breeds violence and exploitation against sex workers.
As sex workers around the globe have pointed out for decades: We need the full decriminalization of sex work to ensure the safety, dignity and security of all sex workers and recognize that enforcement disproportionately targets Black, Indigenous, Migrant, Transwomen and street-based sex workers.
We call for:
The repeal of Bill C-36 and the full decriminalization of sex work in Canada
Legal and labour rights for sex workers
Provincial and Municipal non-enforcement of Bill C-36
The destigmatization of sex work
The recognition of the dignity and value of sex workers
On this day we remember those who have died as a result of gender-based violence, over 1200 documented missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, and those that still walk with us and continue to experience violence; physically, emotionally, spiritually and systematically.
On this day we join together to fight for the elimination all forms of violence against women, including Bill C-36, which will criminalize sex work and isolate sex workers, pushing them into harms way.
COUNTERfits Womens Harm Reduction Program (Toronto)
Maggies Toronto Sex Workers Action Project
POWER - Prostitutes of Ottawa-Gatineau Work, Educate & Resist
Sistering - A Womens Place (Toronto)
Sex Professionals of Canada
Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
Southwestern Ontario Sex Workers (SWOSWers)
Positive Womens Network (Vancouver)
Stella, l'amie de Maimie (Montreal)
Sunshine House (Winnipeg)
PACE Society (Vancouver)
Safe Harbour Outreach Project (St. John's)
FIRST: Decriminalize Sex Work Now
Come As You Are - Workers' Cooperative (Toronto)
AIDS Committee of Durham Region
Bad Date Coalition (Toronto)
Central Toronto Community Health Centre (Toronto)
Ontario Aboriginal HIV/AIDS Strategy (OAHAS)
Adjoint AQPSUD (Association québécoise pour la promotion de la santé des personnes utilisatrices de drogues)
AIDS Committee of Toronto
Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention (ASAAP)
Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights
PEERS Victoria Resource Society
Butterfly (Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Support Network)
The Naked Truth
Positive Living Society of BC
HIV/AIDS Legal Clinic of Ontario (HALCO)
Sudbury Coalition Against Poverty
Black Lives Matter
Network For the Elimination of Police Violence
Canadian Alliance for Sex Work Law Reform
Toronto Trans Alliance
John Howard Society of Toronto
CATIE - Canadas source for HIV and Hepatitis C Information
Stepping Stone (Halifax)
Trans Feminist Action Caucus CUPE 3903
No More Silence
AIDS ACTION NOW
Assaulted Women and Children Counsellor/Advocate Program, George Brown College
Interagency Coalition on AIDS and Development
Big Susies - Sex Worker Advocacy Organization of Hamilton
Jane Doe, sexual assault activist and Co-ordinater of the national Feminist Coalition in Support of Full Decriminalization and the Human and Labour Rights of Sex Workers
Knowledge and Power of Women (KAPOW)
Native Womens Resource Centre
Toronto Harm Reduction Workers Union
Canadian AIDS Society
Pivot Legal Society (Vancouver)
No One Is Illegal - Toronto
Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
Global Network of People Living with HIV (North America)
AIDS Committee of Ottawa
Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic
Guelph Resource Centre for Gender Empowerment and Diversity
TG InnerSelves (Sudbury)
Sudbury Action Centre for Youth
Downtown East Womens Committee of Toronto
International Workers of the World (IWW), Womens Committee
Canadian Harm Reduction Network
Chinese Canadian National Congress, Toronto Chapter
For more information contact:
Chair, Board of Directors, Maggies Toronto Sex Workers Action Project
Executive Director, Maggies Toronto Sex Workers Action Project
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