Federal Conservatives Continue to Jeopardize Women's Lives and Neighborhood Safety

Date: April 26, 2012 Author: Mantis System Categories: Press Releases
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Maggie's: The Toronto Sex Workers Action Project is deeply dismayed that the Federal Conservatives have chosen to continue to put women's lives in jeopardy by appealing the Ontario Court of Appeals decision on prostitution which would have made it safer for sex workers to live and work.


Two levels of Ontario courts have concluded that the laws against prostitution are dangerous as they prevent sex workers from taking the most basic security precautions around their work. "We're disappointed with the government's decision. In spite of the evidence, the federal government is pushing to keep laws in place that jeopardize women's lives. We look forward to seeing the rights and security of sex workers recognized by the Supreme Court of Canada" said Kara Gillies a long time sex worker and activist for law reform
Kara Gillies added that "The government is cynically playing on peoples fear and misunderstandings about sex work. In reality, there is no threat. Sex workers and clients are already integrated into all levels of society, overwhelmingly without disruption. In areas of the world where there are no criminal laws around prostitution, there are regulatory models and supports that exists for the wellbeing of workers and the communities in which they live and work."

"I deserve respect and safety. Right now, I can't access safety or be respected in my work with these laws in place. I face oppression and discrimination and I want more power over how I do sex work." Monica Forrester, long-time community activist and sex worker.

"The conservatives are not listening to the people most affected by the current legal framework--sex workers. The current laws compromise sex workers safety and are not good for the public interest, communities or neighborhoods. Organizations with expertise in areas of public policy, law and sex work have been working for many years developing regulatory models outside of the criminal legal system that support the wellbeing of both sex workers and communities" Emily van der Muelen, Assistant Professor, Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology, Ryerson University.

"What we are seeing today is an almost identical repeat of the public's reaction to the partial decriminalization of homosexuality back in 1969. Unfounded, odious, and inflammatory statements about the inherent dangers of sex work and the detrimental effects this decriminalization will have on society are everywhere. And yet, much like the case of 'homosexuality' in the last 40 years we will see that, really, what people decide to do on their own time has no negative effects on people's lives or communities." said a representative of Queer Ontario


"We call on the federal government to stop backing laws that endanger women's lives and listen to the evidence about creating neighborhoods and communities that are safe for everyone" Keisha Scott, Executive Director, Maggie's: Toronto Sex Workers Action Project 

"The conservatives are being alarmist. We know that this law does not in any way compromise public safety. In fact, the current law is not good for the public interest, community, neighborhoods. Organizations with expertise in areas of public policy, law and sex work have been working for many years developing regulator models outside of the criminal legal system that support the wellbeing of both sex workers and communities" Emily van der Muelen, Assistant Professor, Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology, Ryerson University.

"What we are seeing today is an almost identical repeat of the public's reaction to the partial decriminalization of homosexuality back in 1969. Unfounded, odious, and inflammatory statements about the inherent dangers of sex work and the detrimental effects this decriminalization will have on society are everywhere. And yet, much like the case of 'homosexuality' in the last 40 years we will see that, really, what people decide to do on their own time has no negative effects on people's lives or communities." said a representative of Queer Ontario


"We call on the federal government to stop backing laws that endanger women's lives and listen to the evidence about creating neighborhoods and communities that are safe for everyone" Keisha Scott, Executive Director, Maggie's: Toronto Sex Workers Action Project 

 

Media contacts: Chanelle Gallant, Communications Coordinator 416 964 0150 | maggiestoronto.ca