Updates to the site as of July 3, 2014:


Sex workers, sex work rights groups and our allies - (as well as the prohibitionists and religious groups) will be speaking at the Justice Committee during the week of July 7, 2014 to July 11, 2014.

SPOC is one of the groups on July 9. Valerie Scott and Amy Lebovitch, will be speaking on the morning time slot sometime between 9:30am - 11:30am. Witnesses are only given 10minutes each group, so we have 5 mins each in which to speak.

You will be able to watch all the meetings online HERE. If you are in Ottawa, you can be there in person, we would love to see you!

Click HERE to get more information on when the meetings are and who will be speaking.


SPOC's statement

Sex Professionals of Canada is devastated by the proposed bill C-36 that has been put forward by the Conservative Government of Canada on Wednesday, June 4, 2014.

This government has willfully and intentionally placed sex workers safety and lives in danger.

Keeping criminalization in place will continue the violence, stigma and social exclusion of sex workers.

All the laws that were struck down by the Supreme Court of Canada as unconstitutional have been virtually re-instated under the guise of 'protecting us'.

This new bill labels all of us as victims and labels all our clients as criminals.

It is deplorable what the Conservative government has done to sex workers.

This isn't over and we will continue to fight!

Find the proposed bill HERE

Please take note, this new proposed bill is NOT YET LAW.


Letter from Lawyer Alan Young to Peter MacKay (PDF)


Valerie Scott will be speaking at “Building Inclusive Communities with Sex Workers” conference in Sudbury, ON, June 12, 2014 (click here for info)

Amy Lebovitch & Valerie Scott will be speaking at the 36th Annual Sexuality conference in Guelph, ON, June 20, 2014 (click here for info)



Tax Return Information for Sex Workers



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Condemnation grows as more sex workers’ groups speak out against police harassment -urge Parliament to go a different route

January 29, 2014. Toronto--  Big Susie’s, STOP the Arrests!!! SSM, Sex Professionals of Canada, Sex Workers Action Group Kingston, Stepping Stone, Maggie’s: The Toronto Sex Workers Action Group and Stella join fellow sex workers’ organizations in condemning recent police activities that use deception and intimidation to investigate trafficking and exploitation, driving the sex trade further underground and away from safety. 330 sex workers across the country were targeted.

In cities across Canada, male officers are posing as clients to book appointments with indoor sex workers. Several officers then show up at the worker's door, demanding entry in order to check for signs of trafficking or coercion. Once inside, officers bombard the worker (usually a woman) with personal questions, demand to see ID and search the worker’s premises and possessions.

Tragically, such duplicitous and intimidating policing tactics hinder the important goal of surfacing actual cases of exploitation and coercion. "Part of our work as a sex workers' rights and advocacy organization is to support anybody who might find themselves in a coercive situation,” shares Phoenix from Maggie’s.  “I can tell you that these sorts of deceitful and menacing approaches further degrade trust between sex workers and the police, and stop people in exploitative situations from seeking and accepting police assistance.“

This policing strategy seems to contradict the recent Supreme Court decision that insisted that the law cannot be used to further endanger the security and safety of sex workers. As Valerie Scott from Sex Professionals of Canada points out, “Police intimidation pushes us further into the shadows, and sets up the same kind of circumstances that the Supreme Court just ruled are unacceptable.” Sex workers express feeling intimidated by the current police tactic and coerced into allowing police into their homes and worksites. Privacy and dignity are compromised. “I understand the importance of identifying and stopping abuse,” says Emma, a sex worker in the GTA. “But scaring and intimidating women isn’t the way to do it. I mean, several uniformed cops at my door asking to be let in? While I'm standing there in my lingerie and heels? I would likely let them in just so my neighbours and landlord won't know what's going on. The last thing I need is to lose my home. Not to mention it scaring off clients and me losing money. It’s not like this is some minor inconvenience."

We urge politicians and law enforcement to recognize the unintended yet serious harm caused by poorly designed laws and tactics intended to fight exploitation. "As Parliament tackles prostitution law reform over the next few months, they should be cautious not to develop laws that, in the name of helping women, actually compromise their safety and well-being," comments Amy Lebovitch, a sex worker and activist with Sex Professionals of Canada. “Otherwise, we will have more of the sort of deception and intimidation we are seeing with this recent policing tactic – and worse.“

Laws that could cause such damage include those that do not criminalize sex workers directly but aggressively target their managers and clients. As Kara Gillies, a sex worker and advocate, says, “The problem is that there is no way to go after our clients and managers without hurting our income and security. And those approaches harm not only us but also the majority of clients and managers who are benevolent, not exploitative.”

Sex workers would like to have other strategies developed to decrease exploitation and increase safety. Mz. Scream from Big Susie’s explains: “In fact, sex workers are well equipped to work together with business owners to build a better business practices model including a minimum set of health and safety labour standards, and an official complaints process so that we can weed out the bad clients and managers under our own governance.”
Collectively we are calling on local and national police forces to stop using deceptive and intimidating tactics against sex workers. As Chanelle Gallant, Spokesperson for Maggie’s states, “Harassing over 300 sex workers in this manner is a misuse of police resources, oversteps acceptable police conduct and undermines everyone’s right to fair application of the law.”

CONTACTS:

Big Susie’s: Big Susie's is a working group by and for sex workers in Hamilton and the surrounding areas. Our purpose is to fight back against the stigma and silence that degrades, devalues and dehumanizes sex workers and their work. Big Susie's is a sex-positive and sex worker-positive organization that advocates for the total decriminalization of sex work to allow sex workers self-determination of their own bodies. www.bigsusies.com - bigsusies@live.ca

Maggie's: The Toronto Sex Workers Action Project is an organization run for and by local sex workers. Our mission is to assist sex workers in our efforts to live and work with safety and dignity. We are founded on the belief that in order to improve our circumstances, sex workers must control our own lives and destinies.
Contact: Chanelle Gallant communications@maggiestoronto.ca, 416 964-0150

Sex Professionals of Canada (SPOC) is a sex worker activist group whose main objective is to work toward the decriminalization of sex work through political activism and public awareness. Contact: Amy Lebovitch amy@spoc.ca - 416.880.6034 - www.spoc.ca

Sex Workers Action Group Kingston (SWAG) is a sex positive group run by sex workers, people with lived experience, allies, and agency members who strive to improve the lives of sex workers in Kingston and surrounding area. www.swagkingston.com   swagkingston@gmail.com

Stella, l’amie de Maimie (Montréal, Quebec). Stella is Montréal’s organization run by and for sex workers. Since 1995, Stella has fought for better working conditions for sex workers working in all sectors of the industry, promoting health and human rights

Stepping Stone is a charitable not for profit organization that offers supportive programs and outreach to women, men and transgender sex workers and former sex workers in Halifax, NS. (902) 420-0103 info@stepping-stone.org

STOP the Arrests!!! SSM is a group of sex workers (former and current) and sex worker allies who are strongly connected to their community of Sault Ste. Marie. Collectively, STOP the Arrests!!! SSM is a grass roots campaign against the stigmatization and criminalization of sex-worker within the community of Sault Ste Marie and beyond.
Contact: stopthearrestsssm@gmail.com or (P) 647-828-3224


Unanimous Decision!

All Three Laws Struck Down!!

We are ecstatic to hear The Supreme Court of Canada’s decision today!!
With its ruling, the court has recognized the need for sex workersʼ safety and acknowledging our work as labour.

Sex Professionals of Canada holds that sex workers are part of the community and should be allowed the safety, liberty, respect and inclusion guaranteed to all. The laws against bawdy houses, living on the avails, and communication, forced us to work in dangerous conditions and prevented us from conducting our business like other workers. With this ruling, across Canada, we finally have an end to the criminalization of sex work!

The Court has placed a stay on the laws for one-year. There is still more to come. Parliament and municipalities can pass laws which can continue to harm us. It is imperative that sex workers are at the forefront of anything being purposed, as we are the true experts in our lives and work.

~Sex Professionals of Canada

The Supreme Court of Canada's decision can be found HERE


December 17, 2013, International Day to end Violence Against Sex Workers. Click HERE for SPOC's Press release in PDF.



Nadine Gurczenski's family is seeking information on her murder (1999). They are working with a documentary film crew.

Please click HERE to view the poster.


The Bedford, Lebovitch & Scott landmark challenge to Canada's prostitution laws.

{Each decision can be found by clicking on the word decision at each court level}

Previous court decisions on our challenge

First Level

Ontario Superior Court. Decision released:  September 28, 2010

Second Level

Court of Appeal for Ontario. Decision released: March 26, 2012

Third and Final Level

Supreme Court of Canada, heard this case Thursday, June 13, 2013

Webcast of proceedings at the Supreme Court is archieved HERE

The Court heard the Federal government and the AG of Ontario's appeal as well as our cross appeal. We are seeking invalidation of communicating section 213(1)(c) and the Ontario court of appeal rewrite of living on the avails 212(1)(j).

Final Decision

December 20, 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada made its unanimous nine to zero ruling in our favour, striking down all three of the prostitution laws, deeming them unconstitutional. Decision can be found HERE


To view the laws in their entirety, and the subsections we are challenging, click HERE.

Media and Public Awareness

SPOC members are available for conversations & interviews with media, students and the general public.

Our contact information can be found HERE

We are available to speak at universities, colleges and conferences. Some topics we can cover; Stigma, Myths of Sex Work(ers), What is Sex Work? Sex work under decriminalization, legalization, criminalization and the nordic model (asymmetrical decriminalization) & much more!

We are also available for interviews regarding our constitutional challenge to the Canadian Criminal Code (CCC) sections, 210 (bawdy house), 212(1)(j) (living on the avails) and 213(1)(c) (communicating for the purpose of prostitution)

We are happy to provide you with:

  • The reasons why we are challenging the above laws.

  • How these laws have affected sex workers.

  • How these sections of the CCC have directly resulted in the robberies, beatings, rapes and murders of our colleagues.

  • Analysis of this challenge.


Mission & Principles

1. SPOC is a volunteer run activist network that engages in advocacy and education.

2. SPOC operates on the principle that all forms of consensual adult sex work are valid occupations.

3. SPOC maintains that sex workers have the capacity for choice and our experiences are diverse.

4. SPOC maintains that sex workers deserve labour rights, and occupational health and safety standards defined by sex workers themselves.

5. SPOC members and associates oppose those who seek to ‘rescue’ sex workers using force or coercive measures including court imposed re-education/exit programs, jails or camps.

We stand for the decriminalization of all forms of sex work in Canada. We oppose legalization because it is always exploitive toward sex workers.

Membership

If you are a current or former sex worker, or an associate interested working toward the decriminalization of sex work while having fun and connecting with others, please do not hesitate to contact us. We encourage membership from all communities, sexual orientations and genders.

Donations

As an entirely volunteer sex worker run organization, we rely on the generous support of our community and supporters. SPOC gratefully accepts donations to assist us in our work.

Donations can be made via Pay Pal by clicking the button below

or by cheque/money order payable to:

Sex Professionals of Canada.  P.O. Box # 305, 400 Parliament St., Toronto, ON,  M5A-2Z7