We are deeply disappointed in the Ontario Superior Court’s decision to dismiss a Charter challenge to the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act. Im/migrant sex workers will continue to face criminalization, violence and stigma under PCEPA.
The women we support mainly work in massage businesses or private apartments. These establishments need receptionists, managers, other sex workers and sometimes even security staff to do essential work including screening clients and keeping workers safe. But working with sex workers is illegal under PCEPA’s Procuring and Material Benefit offences.
Criminalizing clients only drives im/migrant sex workers further underground. When sex workers have to work underground, they’re more vulnerable to violence, exploitation and poor working conditions.
After the Supreme Court of Canada struck down previous prostitution laws by finding them unconstitutional, the federal government responded by introducing new laws that continue to punish and endanger sex workers through PCEPA and the Immigration & Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) which ban temporary residents from doing sex work.
Thank you to the sex workers and organizations who launched this Charter challenge. SWAN Vancouver continues to advocate for the full decriminalization of sex work that doesn’t leave migrants behind, through repealing PCEPA and the IRPR.