In a ruling which many sex workers are calling a disappointment, the Ontario Court of appeal today released a decision that upheld the law against communication for the purposes of prostitution, modified the law against living off the avails of prostitution and struck down the law against operating a common bawdy house.
“The vast majority of all prostitution arrests are under the communication law. The failure to strike down the communication law means that the most vulnerable sex workers will continue to face arrest, police harassment, prosecution and violence.” –Emily van der Muelen, Assistant Professor, in the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology, Ryerson University.
"I reject the conclusion that street work is so bad for neighborhoods that stopping it is more important than protecting women's lives." -Lux, a current sex worker with street experience.
“This is a letdown for the most vulnerable sex workers who are largely street, Indigenous and transgendered sex workers” –Keisha Scott, Coordinator, Maggie’s: Toronto Sex Workers Action Project
While striking down the bawdy house law may increase security for some sex workers, on it’s own, it is simply not enough. "The anti prostitution laws work together to jeopardize sex workers safety. it is not tenable to have a safe place to see a client if you can’t screen him first or clearly set out what you offer, your rates and your safe sex requirements. Further, many street-based workers don’t have access to an indoor place to work." - Kara Gillies a long time sex worker and activist for law reform
Maggie’s: Toronto Sex Workers Action Project is Canada’s oldest sex worker run organization dedicated to assisting sex workers in our right to live and work with safety and dignity.
Keisha Scott – Coordinator- Maggie’s 416-964-0150