Maggie's to argue at Ontario appeal

Date: June 14, 2011 Author: Mantis System Categories: Press Releases


TORONTO (June 15 2011)— Maggie's: The Toronto Sex Workers Action Project
and POWER, an Ottawa-based sex worker rights group will argue in favour of
decriminalization of sex work in the Ontario Court of Appeal tomorrow. Both
organizations were granted intervenor status opposing the Canadian and Ontario
government’s appeal of Justice Himel's landmark ruling last year striking down
three of Canada's prostitution laws as unconstitutional.

Justice Himel ruled on September 28, 2010 that federal prostitution laws force
sex workers to choose between protecting themselves from harm and protecting
themselves from arrest, and concluded that the harm caused to sex workers by the
laws was “simply too high a price to pay for the alleviation of social nuisance.”

“POWER and Maggie's are happy to add our voices to those of the sex workers
who originally challenged the prostitution laws,” says Dr. Chris Bruckert, Chair of
POWER and a noted expert on sex work in the University of Ottawa's Department
of Criminology. “In light of Justice Himel's unambiguous conclusion that the
prostitution laws are unconstitutional, infringe on the rights of sex workers and
impede their ability to keep themselves safe, I am appalled that the Ontario and
Canadian governments have appealed her decision.”

“Much of the violence and abuse experienced by sex workers is a direct result of
the laws themselves,” added Kara Gillies of Maggie's. “Even Parliament in 2006
acknowledged that the status quo is unacceptable. This appeal perpetuates that
status quo while it works its way through the system. We call on the governments
of Canada and Ontario to drop their appeals and start working with sex workers to
realize our right to work in safety and equality.”

Chris Bruckert, Chair of POWER (Prostitutes of Ottawa/Gatineau Work
Educate Resist) (English 819-661-3785)

Frédérique Chabot, vice-chair of POWER (Prostitutes of Ottawa/Gatineau
Work Educate Resist) (French and English 613-875-0851)