Joint Submission to Toronto City Council on Bill 251, Combating Human Trafficking Act, 2021

Butterfly (Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Support Network) (“Butterfly”) was formed by sex workers, social workers, legal and health professionals to provide support to, and advocate for, the rights of Asian and migrant sex workers. Butterfly was founded upon the belief that sex workers are entitled to respect and human rights; regardless of their immigration status, Asian and migrant sex workers should be treated like all other workers.

The HIV Legal Network promotes the human rights of people living with, at risk of or affected by HIV or AIDS, in Canada and internationally, through research and analysis, litigation and other advocacy, public education and community mobilization. Since its inception, the HIV Legal Network has worked in collaboration with sex workers and migrant communities to defend their human rights.

Together, we make this written submission to inform the Executive Committee’s consideration of Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam’s recommendation that Toronto City Council call on the Government of Ontario to “amend Bill 251 and immediately consult with sex workers and other affected vulnerable communities to ensure that any new legislation will include an anti-human trafficking strategy that is rooted in human rights, including labour rights and migrant rights, and that it addresses the numerous structural barriers including poverty, precarious immigration status, and lack of access to affordable housing, health and social services that contribute to the risks of human trafficking.”