How Do Canada's Sex Work Laws Actually Impact Real Sex Workers?
Good intentions for sexual-assault victims leads to unequal justice for accused under Bill C-51
In 2013, Canada's long-standing laws against sex work were struck down in the landmark case of R. v. Bedford. Following that, the government rewrote the law to fill the void that was left. Their decision was to criminalize the purchasers of sex, rather than the purveyors. They said it was necessary.
But has it worked? How helpful have these laws really been?
I sat down with Carmen, a sex worker, and Caroline, a front-line volunteer at PACE Society, a non-profit organization geared towards helping sex workers in Vancouver's Downtown East Side, to discuss.
The spirit of this bill is commendable. The goals it seeks to achieve are valid. I want to like it. I want to support it. But sadly, I cannot.
Bill C-51 will not only compromise the rights of an accused person at trial, it will also create systemic delays that will frustrate its very purpose. Perhaps most disturbingly, though, is that it is likely to have the unintended affect of further marginalizing already marginalized individuals.