Sex workers in Canada have been ongoing targets of violence and discrimination. Our country’s laws have treated sex workers as though their lives are disposable. Street-based sex workers in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and across the country often face a lack of protection from police and have experienced unspeakable brutality, stigmatization, and even murder.
These conditions have been created by the laws that criminalize adult sex work, pushing those who trade sexual services further to the margins of society and away from protections that could save their lives. Pivot’s sex workers’ rights campaign advocates for decriminalization of sex work as a necessary step to protecting the health, safety, and human rights of sex workers.
Alongside sex workers in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and across Canada, Pivot is pushing back against laws that criminalize sex work. Under the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act, enacted by the federal government in 2014, most aspects of the sex trade continue to be criminalized. These laws perpetuate the conditions that lead to violence and discrimination. These new laws were formally reviewed by the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights in early 2022 and Pivot testified that these laws continue to cause harm to sex workers. The decriminalization of sex work is a necessary step to protecting the health, safety and human rights of all sex workers.