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

·1 min read

OTTAWA — 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 says 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.

The advocates say they have been patiently waiting on parliamentarians to uphold the rights of sex workers.

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 says the Conservative government of the day missed an opportunity to make things better for sex workers and instead brought in new laws that have had negative effects.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 30, 2021.

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

The Canadian Press