Yesterday was a momentous day. The Supreme Court of Canada, the highest court in our land, unanimously upheld Justice Himel’s ruling in Bedford v. Canada from September 28th, 2010 wherein she stated that sex workers are forced to chose between their life, liberty, and security of the person or criminalization. She stated this was unconstitutional, and breached the fundamental human rights of sex workers.
Yesterday, the Supreme Court Justice’s affirmed what sex workers have been saying for years: that these laws create an environment in which sex workers cannot engage in activities that make their work safer.
This is the first step towards recognizing the fundamental human and labour rights of sex workers. It’s a step towards recognizing that sex workers are valued members of Canadian society and deserve the same rights and freedoms as everyone else.
This it the first step towards destigmatizing the industry.
From what I can tell, and as I’ve commented in the past, we seem to be moving towards a model of sex work regulation that would criminalize the clients of the sex industry and we must, absolutely must, make sure this does not happen. Criminalizing clients of the industry does not mean equality for women! Groups that claim this are sorely mistaken. Equality for women means supporting our choices, even if those choices are made under constrained circumstances. It means meeting people where they are at, and enabling them to do what they need to do to work safely. I’m going to stand in solidarity with my sisters, brothers and trans people who aren’t as lucky (read privileged) as me until we are all respected, and can all work safely.
Please take a moment to support sex workers human rights by donating to your local organization. Yesterday was a HUGE win, but the Swedish model cannot (absolutely cannot) be implemented in Canada. Here is a short list of some of the major organizations in Canada:
POWER Ottawa: http://www.powerottawa.ca/
Maggie’s Toronto: http://maggiestoronto.ca/
STELLA Montreal: http://www.chezstella.org/
Stepping Stone Halifax: http://www.steppingstonens.ca/
PACE Vancouver: http://www.pace-society.org/
I hope you’re all well. I know I’m happy. I’m still in shock! Yesterday Canada was on the right side of history… I’m proud of our Supreme Court.