Canada Liberals Slated To Debate Decriminalization Of Sex Work In Canada

16:06  18 april  2018
16:06  18 april  2018 Source:   huffingtonpost.ca

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The debate over sex work is often characterized as an issue of women's rights, especially by They also lobby for the decriminalization of sex work and have recently begun a research program in North America. The Sex Professionals of Canada (SPOC) is a national, voluntary, sex worker -run

The weight of the Liberal majority needs to be put behind the health and safety of all people in Canada , including sex workers . This can only start with our government taking the necessary steps toward the decriminalization of sex work in Canada .

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OTTAWA — Liberals from across the country are headed to Halifax this week for the party's biannual national convention, and one of the issues up for debate is the decriminalization of consensual sex work and sex trade.

"This is not an issue that politicians want to touch," Kerry Porth, a board member with Vancouver-based Pivot Legal Society, told HuffPost Canada. "It's a very disappointing time for sex workers in Canada. They're feeling very demoralized."

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This modern debate has roots in Victorian England, which branded prostitutes as wicked, depraved and a public nuisance. The most significant change was sex workers enjoying safer and better working conditions. Decriminalization would end the punitive system wherein sex workers —a

The question of decriminalization of sex work in Canada has been a hot button issue ever since the recent Canadian Supreme Court decisions in Downtown Eastside Sex Workers United Against Violence Society et al. v. Canada (Attorney General) 2012 SCC 45 and the 2013 Canada

The resolution arrives at convention four years after the Supreme Court of Canada's landmark Bedford decision, which struck down the country's prostitution laws after they were found to be in violation of sex workers' rights.

a person standing in a room: Dominatrix Terri-Jean Bedford was one of three people who initiated a challenge to Canada's prostitution laws. Bedford reacts after the Supreme Court of Canada struck down all restrictions on prostitution on Dec. 20, 2013.© Provided by AOL Inc. Dominatrix Terri-Jean Bedford was one of three people who initiated a challenge to Canada's prostitution laws. Bedford reacts after the Supreme Court of Canada struck down all restrictions on prostitution on Dec. 20, 2013.

Amendments were made to the Criminal Code by the former Conservative government the following year to respond to the ruling. But according to the Young Liberals, who put forward the resolution, it actually "creates a climate that makes sex workers unlikely to work with the police and be involved with more serious crimes."

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Liberal supporters from across Canada are set to descend on Halifax this spring to debate what the party position should be on everything from consensual sex work to press coverage by proposing what would effectively be the full decriminalization of virtually all recreational drug use in Canada .

She noted that taking a broad brush stroke and claiming that all sex work is inherently violent is “problematic.” Pate said her argument — and the argument of other groups, such as the Native Women’s Association of Canada , that oppose decriminalization across the board — is about

The reworked laws don't protect sex workers, the resolution argues, it "pushes them to work underground and in dangerous conditions."

Porth, a former sex worker, agrees. She is currently working with Pivot on a feasibility study of launching another court challenge to change the country's laws, again, around sex work. She called the amendments made four years ago "really damaging."

Another Charter challenge could take 10 years

One example of a change made by the Conservatives, in response to the Bedford decision, is the introduction of a ban on ads for sexual services. On the surface level, the Bill C-36 provision appeared to be a way to cut access and curtail demand in hopes of reducing the number sex workers.

But advocates say the provision was short-sighted and took away a sex worker's option to safely work indoors. It's one of several continued violations, they argue, to sex workers' Charter rights of life, liberty and security.

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"What we need to do is decriminalize and work towards harm reduction, supports and rehabilitation," he said. I would call for the decriminalization of all personal possession offences when it comes to drugs. Although the Liberal government recently allowed a total of 16 sites across Canada , Ashton

In the larger sense, it’s possible that the heated ideological debate over sex work decriminalization masks a legitimate conflict of interest — between what would improve the lives of voluntary sex workers , and what would reduce the rate of human trafficking.

The Liberals stood firmly against Bill C-36. A statement from the party at the time noted "serious concerns" with the Conservative legislation, saying it "fails to adequately protect the health and safety of vulnerable people, particularly women."

Porth said the effect of the new laws has been a disappointing turn of events. A Charter challenge can take seven to 10 years "and it's really hard on the sex workers who appear as plaintiffs."

Youth wing fulfilling role to challenge status quo

Even if the Young Liberals' proposal to decriminalize consensual sex work and the sex trade is approved by the majority of delegates on Saturday, there are no rules requiring Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government to adopt the policy.

The party was previously slated to debate the topic of legalizing prostitution in 2014, but it was withdrawn before convention after its supporters admitted it needed more work.

Federal Liberal party delegates vote on a resolution during the party's biennial convention in Montreal on Feb. 23, 2014.© Provided by AOL Inc. Federal Liberal party delegates vote on a resolution during the party's biennial convention in Montreal on Feb. 23, 2014.

This weekend's resolution is among 30 slated for discussion — and is one of two ideas championed by the party's youth wing that stands to be debated by delegates.

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Dear Sirs and Madam, Re: Evidence-Based Call for Decriminalization of Sex Work in Canada and Opposition to Criminalizing the Purchasing of Sex . If the peer reviewed research is "unequivocal" on this issue, then why is there still debate on the issue?

Amnesty International will vote this month on whether to advocate worldwide decriminalization of sex work . If the policy is adopted, the human rights group will call for governments to eliminate most laws that prohibit selling or buying sex .

Porth is heartened that young people feel strongly about the issue and want to see injustice addressed. Young people always seem to be the ones to "pull the morality out of this issue" more than adults, she said. But she remains skeptical.

"I'm not sure how much power Young Liberals have."

Mira Ahmad, president of the Young Liberals of Canada, said the resolution to decriminalize sex work is an example of the youth caucus' role in pushing for progressive change.

"Young Liberals do have the opportunity, if the process allows, to make significant change. And I think this process definitely allowed for that," she said.

Ahmad noted that legislation to legalize marijuana had its origins in a resolution written by a young Liberal in British Columbia.

"We, as young people, like to push for progressive issues and challenges, sometimes, the party's status quo thinking."

Now, with legislation slated to make marijuana legal puffing full steam ahead, Porth said the Liberals need to make good on pledges they made during the election campaign to support the decriminalization of sex work.

"You know, people's ability to smoke pot freely — [is] not a huge priority for me," Porth said.

"I think sex workers are getting a bit tired of waiting, and a bit tired of paying with their lives."

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Source: http://ca.pressfrom.com/news/canada/-71219-liberals-slated-to-debate-decriminalization-of-sex-work-in-canada/

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