June 24th, 2022
NDP calling for life-saving measures for sex-workers
OTTAWA - Earlier this week, the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights tabled its report which found that the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act (PCEPA) creates unnecessary harm for sex workers. New Democrats opposed the adoption of PCEPA in 2013 and have continued to call for reforms.
“We knew that in making laws against consensual sex, the act would not only fail to stop acts of violence – but would create an even more dangerous environment for sex workers, the majority of whom are women," said NDP Justice Critic Randall Garrison. “Rather than criminalizing sex work, we need a harm reduction and human rights-based strategy that empowers sex workers to take all measures necessary to ensure their health and safety.”
The Liberals and the previous Conservative government have failed to protect sex workers – allowing this act to drive them to more dangerous and remote locations and supporting the dangerous provisions causing their clients to hide their identity.
The recent report is a first step as it recognizes the harm that our current law creates in forcing sex workers into vulnerable situations and pushing them away from safe spaces. New Democrats supported this report because it recommends repealing the most harmful provisions of PCEPA, but the report stops short of what is needed.
“We must take action to address the real harms caused by the criminalization of sex work that sex workers face daily," said Garrison. "The Liberal government has a responsibility to act and to make this a better and safer country for all people – not to further stigmatize sex work. New Democrats know that the only way to address the vulnerabilities of sex workers is for Canada to fully decriminalize sex work."