Brief submitted to the Standing Committee on the Status of Women For their study on: Human Trafficking of Women, Girls, and Gender Diverse People

Sex workers in Canada face an alarming web of punitive laws and policies from all levels of government that attempt, among other things, to crush the measures and networks that keep them. These include laws criminalizing sex work, including those passed via the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act which prohibit working in public spaces, “materially benefiting from” and “procuring” sex work, purchasing sexual services (as well as to communicate for that purpose), and advertising sexual services, laws ostensibly aimed at criminalizing human trafficking, and immigration regulations that prohibit migrant workers from working in the sex industry. Additionally, a growing number of provincial human trafficking laws have been advanced that claim to promote awareness of human trafficking and facilitate its investigation. Yet the experiences of Black, racialized, Indigenous, and migrant sex workers show that despite their nominally benevolent aims, anti-trafficking enforcement is frequently a source of harm rather than support for sex workers, particularly those most marginalized.