May 30, 2023 Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Pan-Canadian Action Day
Sex workers call for full decriminalization of their work
EDMONTON, June 2, 2023 – Today, multiple sex workers organizations across Canada organized visibility actions to demand the decriminalization of their work, so they can earn their living in safer, more secure conditions and enjoy the same rights as other workers. In Edmonton we invited over 600 allies and sex workers to join us in our efforts either by meeting in a safe space to discuss the differences between criminalized and decriminalized legislation. We will be encouraging everyone to write to their MPs to demand decriminalization so sex workers can begin to enjoy a healthier workplace environment, with all the rights and privileges afforded other Canadians.
The federal government must act!
Activists and allies across the country are calling for the federal government to introduce legislation that would decriminalize sex work, as was done in New Zealand. The New Zealand model has proven itself over the past 20 years to be the way forward. Sex workers benefit from the same rights as other workers and can denounce work-related violence using the same labor law network as any other worker.
In Edmonton, the current Federal model affects all sex workers because the criminality of our clients causes us to conspire with the criminal with each transaction. Considering that sex work is not in and of itself illegal, it is galling that the law prevents us from advertising our own sexual services. Further, the law forbids others from advertising our sexual services - whether this is a friend or a third party app for sex workers.
In workplaces like massage parlors and strip bars, working conditions are often threatened by bosses who take advantage of deregulation to lay down the law. Faced with safety issues, abuse and harassment, sex workers have little to no way to protect their rights to decent working conditions.
United for decriminalization
Several actions took place today in several Canadian cities to challenge the federal government. Sex workers and their allies gathered in the cities of Quebec, Hamilton, Winnipeg, Montreal, Calgary, Vancouver and Edmonton to send a clear message: "Our voices are united and we are letting the government of Justin Trudeau know that we've had enough of waiting. Criminalization puts us at risk and prevents us from working in decent working conditions!”
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