Sex, Work, Rights: Changing Canada’s Criminal Laws to Protect Sex Workers’ Health and Human Rights (short version)

Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
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This booklet explains how Canada’s criminal laws related to prostitution affect the health and the human rights of sex workers. It recommends changes to those laws to improve the lives of sex workers. This booklet is based on the report Sex, work, rights: reforming Canadian criminal laws on prostitution (click for more information and to download the 124 page report), published in 2005 by the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network.

We hope it will be useful to sex workers who are already fighting for their rights every day, and to others who want to support efforts to change Canada’s laws. We hope it will encourage people and organizations, such as HIV/AIDS organizations, to support sex workers.

The contents of this booklet include:

  • The terms "sex worker" and "prostitution"
  • Caught in the Criminal Code web: many activities related to prostitution are illegal
  • Changing the law: what’s important?
  • The “bawdy-house” laws
  • Procuring and “living on the avails of prostitution” are illegal
  • Procuring and “living on the avails”: what do they mean in practice for sex workers?
  • Communicating in public for the purposes of prostitution is illegal
  • Police enforcement of the communicating section has serious consequences
  • Criminalizing sex workers increases risks and harms
  • Sex workers’ rights and the Charter
  • Sex workers’ rights and international law
  • The Criminal Code needs to be changed
  • Canadian laws must protect sex workers
  • For more information …

You can download this 22 page PDF resource above. This resource is in English.