Decriminalization Of Sex Work

[Post taken from

Status on our Constitutional Challenge for Decriminalization

From: Sex Professionals of CanadaRe: Ontario Superior Court decision

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sex Professionals of Canada is delighted by Justice Susan Himel’s decision to acknowledge our right to legally practice our chosen profession. This important victory gives us hope that sex work will one day be fully regarded as the legitimate occupation it is.

The invalidation of Section 210 of the Criminal Code, which prohibits bawdy houses, will mean that we can ensure our safety by working together indoors. We can now report abuses of anyone in our occupation to the appropriate authorities, without fear of arrest. Ontario sex workers will no longer be vulnerable to eviction or arrest on our business premises.

The invalidation of Section 212 (1j) of the Criminal Code, that prohibits living wholly or in part on the avails of prostitution was developed to protect us from ‘pimps’. In practice, it makes us and our live-in partners, and even elderly parents we support, susceptible to being charged, and serving up to ten years in jail. The invalidation of Section 212 (1j), will allow our families to finally stop fearing arrest. Our employees, such as receptionists, drivers, etc. will no longer fear criminal prosecution. Section 212 (1j) has stigmatized and punished us and denied that our work is a form of gainful employment for too long.

The invalidation of Section 213 (1c) of the Criminal Code prohibited “communication for the purposes of prostitution”, that means soliciting clients in any public place, including the use of cell phones, the Internet, hotel lobbies, bars, and even rooms with an open door or window. We are liable to being arrested for stopping or even attempting in any manner to stop a person or motor vehicle. Subject to the communication law, we are forced to limit our negotiating time with clients, preventing us from having enough time to determine if the client is trustworthy or potentially dangerous.

All over Canada, sex workers are calling for an end to criminalization. We have developed workable plans to increase the safety of ALL community members.

Our plans are detailed and could be developed to fit communities from coast to coast. We believe in having a process in place to combat youth exploitation and human trafficking, specialized policing services, sex consumer education, municipal bylaw revisions and a system of professional accreditation to ensure all workers are given access to resources and help should we need it. The tools to make safe decisions about our occupation will help combat exploitation in the sex industry, while respecting the choices of adult sex workers.

Inclusion is key. Consensual adult sex workers must be included in decisions that will affect our occupation. Business owners and residents must be heard also. The only way this will truly work is if all people’s concerns and experiences are respected.

Our opposition’s strategy is to eliminate prostitution, including all consensual adult prostitution. This is unrealistic and unworkable. We do not wish to be further criminalized and driven underground by anti-sex work policies.

Under the guise of saving youth and trafficking victims, our opposition is willing to compromise the human rights of thousands of adult consensual sex workers. Compromising the rights of one group to “save” another is prohibited by the International Declaration of Human Rights, which explicitly states that no part of the declaration may be used to justify the removal of an individual’s rights and SPOC questions the motives of any person willing to harm a woman to save a woman.

It is time to put the voices of sex workers at the forefront. It is time to move away from punishment, toward protection.

We do not need to inherit other nations’ mistakes. We will be working diligently to develop a Canadian model.

We would like to thank Justice Susan Himel, the legal team, all our witnesses, Alan Young , Ron Marzel, and Stacey Nichols.

We would also like to thank Terri Jean Bedford, Amy Lebovitch, Valerie Scott and all the fine sex workers in Canada who have been working towards this victory.

We will be keeping you posted as more information comes in.

Sex Professionals of Canada (SPOC)

With special thanks to the British Columbia Coalition of Experiential Communities. (BCCEC)

We are available for interviews regarding our current constitutional challenge to the Canadian Criminal Code (CCC) sections, 210 (bawdy house), 212(1)(j) (living on the avails) and 213(1)(c) (communicating for the purpose of prostitution)We are happy to provide you with:

  • The reasons why we are challenging the above laws.
  • How these laws have affected sex workers.
  • How these sections of the CCC have directly resulted in the robberies, beatings, rapes and murders of our colleagues.
  • Analysis of this challenge.

Our contact information can be found HERE

Mission & Principles:

1. SPOC operates on the principle that all forms of consensual adult sex work are legitimate and valid. We provide a public voice that promotes the validity of our occupation.

2. We assert that one’s decision to be a sex worker is equally and unequivocally as valid of a choice as is the decision to be in any other legal occupation.

3. We maintain that sex workers deserve genuine labour rights, with industry-wide standards defined by sex workers themselves.

4. Our members, supporting members and our allies oppose those who seek to rescue sex workers via court imposed or otherwise forced or coerced re-education/exit programs, jails or camps.

5. SPOC does not affiliate itself with any political party. If an individual politician truly and publicly endorses the above four principles, SPOC will consider supporting that particular politician, but not the party as a whole.

6. We are not a social service organization.

7. We respect the privacy of all members, and no SPOC member may disclose any ‘personal’ or ‘professional’ information about any other member without expressed {written} consent from that particular member.

8. We are a volunteer run, social and political group.


We stand for the decriminalization of all forms of sex work in Canada. We oppose legalization because it is always exploitive toward sex workers.

Decrease the isolation experienced by many sex workers by organizing sex worker-friendly social events and functions.

Publishing a bad date list so that our colleagues can communicate information about violent and dangerous clients with each other.

Media and Public Awareness:

SPOC members are available for interviews with media and students. We are also available to speak at universities, colleges and conferences. Click here to contact us.


If you are a current or former sex worker, or an ally interested working toward the decriminalization of sex work while having fun and connecting with others, please do not hesitate to contact us. We encourage membership from all communities, sexual orientations and genders.


As an entirely volunteer run organization, we rely on the generous support of our community and supporters. SPOC gratefully accepts donations to assist us in our work.

Donations can be made via Pay Pal by clicking the button below

or by cheque/money order payable to:

Sex Professionals of Canada.  P.O. Box # 305, 400 Parliament St., Toronto, ON,  M5A-2Z7


~ by The Fierce & Fabulous Krew on September 29, 2010.

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