Sex Work

Overview

In Canada and many other countries, sex workers face extreme human rights abuses. Laws and their enforcement often contribute to the stigma, marginalization, discrimination, violence, and lack of access to basic services, such as police protection and health care, experienced by sex workers.

Efforts to improve the health and safety of sex workers must be based on a recognition of sex workers’ individual agency, dignity, worth and right to organize. Decriminalizing sex work is an important first step. So long as sex work is criminal in Canada, sex workers cannot enjoy their international and Charter rights to freedom of expression, freedom of association, security of the person, right to work, and right to enjoy just and favourable conditions of work.

We consult and work closely with organizations run by and for sex workers, and we encourage all governments to do so, in order to bring about reforms that respect and protect the health and human rights of sex workers.

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PublicationsNews

The Carceral Web: Overview of laws affecting migrant sex workers

Butterfly (Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Support Network) and the HIV Legal Network recognize sex work is work and respect the agency of sex workers and migrants. We also recognize the harms caused by criminalization, policing, and laws and policies that discriminate against migrant sex workers. We fight for the dignity, rights, and justice of … Read more

Rights Within Reach: Strategic Plan 2022-2027

The HIV Legal Network promotes the human rights of people living with HIV or AIDS and other populations disproportionately affected by HIV and criminalization, in Canada and internationally. In 2021, we undertook a planning process that would shape the strategic goals and priorities for the organization’s next five years (2022-2027). To do this, we sought … Read more

Rights Within Reach: Strategic Plan 2022-2027, Executive Summary

In 2021, the HIV Legal Network undertook a planning process that would shape the strategic goals and priorities for the organization’s next five years (2022-2027). To do this, we sought the input of a broad range of stakeholders, from partner organizations to people living with and affected by HIV and criminalization, to staff. All identified … Read more

Submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights: Review of the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act

In February 2022, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights undertook a review of The Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act. The HIV Legal Network appeared before the Committee to describe how human rights violations against sex workers have escalated with the passage of the law, which has fueled stigma, … Read more

HIV, Human Rights, and Sex Work in Canada: Submission to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 47/17 entitled “Human rights in the context of HIV and AIDS”

A growing body of research confirms that the criminalization of any aspect of sex work, including the criminalization of clients, sex workers, and third parties in sex work, violates sex workers’ human rights and is in itself a social determinant of health by creating barriers to accessing health care services and building relationships with health … Read more

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MEDIA RELEASE: GOVERNMENT FAILURE TO RESPECT SEX WORKERS’ HUMAN RIGHTS FORCES SEX WORKERS BACK TO COURT

GOVERNMENT FAILURE TO RESPECT SEX WORKERS’ HUMAN RIGHTS FORCES SEX WORKERS BACK TO COURT For interviews or a recording of the press conference, please contact Canadian Alliance for Sex Work Law Reform, contact@sexworklawreform.com, 514.916.2598 Sex Worker Legal Media Briefing: Monday, October 3, 2022, 1pm, 330 University Avenue (Ontario Superior Court) September 29, 2022 – The … Read more

MEDIA RELEASE: TOWN OF NEWMARKET TARGETS AND SHUTS DOWN ASIAN MASSAGE BUSINESSES

TOWN OF NEWMARKET TARGETS AND SHUTS DOWN ASIAN MASSAGE BUSINESSES Groups calling on municipality to end the injustice and repeal new, racist by-law For immediate release May 5, 2022 – Toronto – A group of more than 50 allied organizations — as well as community members, activists, academics, and others — who are committed to human … Read more

MEDIA STATEMENT: WORLD AIDS DAY 2021: FORTY YEARS OF HIV, FORTY YEARS OF PROGRESS

WORLD AIDS DAY 2021: FORTY YEARS OF HIV, FORTY YEARS OF PROGRESS The following can be attributed to the HIV Legal Network.   November 30, 2021 – Toronto – Tomorrow is World AIDS Day — a day to reflect on the current state of HIV and AIDS in the world, where we started, and how … Read more

Media Advisory: LEADING SEX WORK AND LABOUR ISSUE EXPERTS TO LAUNCH CRITICAL REPORT ON IMPACTS OF ANTI-TRAFFICKING LAWS IN CANADA

Media Invited to Join Virtual Webinar on Law, Policy, and Migrant Sex Workers For immediate release  Members of the media are invited to attend the virtual launch of a groundbreaking report, “Caught in the Carceral Web: Anti-Trafficking Laws and Policies and their Impact on Migrant Sex Workers,” that maps the tangled web of Canadian anti-trafficking … Read more

HIV, Hepatitis C and Sexually Transmitted and Blood-Borne Infections in Canada: Top Election 2021 Issues

Joint press release: HIV, Hepatitis C and Sexually Transmitted and Blood-Borne Infections in Canada: Top Election 2021 Issues Health and human rights groups identify priorities for federal policymakers as people in Canada head to the polls Tuesday, September 14, 2021 – More than 60,000 people are currently living with HIV in Canada, approximately 13% of … Read more

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