We the undersigned residents of Canada, draw attention of the House to the following:
THAT many of the standards agreed by the United Nations and the International Labour Organization (ILO) over the past 75 years could be invoked to prevent abuses against sex workers.
THAT an ILO report released August 19, has urged governments to recognize the sex trade as an economic sector: "For adults who freely choose sex work, the policy concerns should focus on improving their working conditions and social protection so as to ensure that they are entitled to the same labour rights and benefits as other workers."
THAT the Anti-Slavery International report, Redefining Prostitution as Sex Work on the International Agenda, recommends, "that all national legislation which, in intent or practice, results in the placing of sex workers outside the scope of the rule of law, should be repealed." The report also suggests "that existing standards be more closely examined and their interpretation expanded where appropriate to give sex workers access to the rights concerned and promote respect for these rights in the sex industry."
THAT "Communicating for the purpose of prostitution" (s. 213, Criminal Code of Canada) is not a serious enough crime to justify an indictable designation. Such a designation would in no way provide greater safety for prostitutes, or reduce the public nuisance factors associated with street prostitution.
THAT treating s. 213 as an indictable offence would only make prostitutes more vulnerable to arbitrary detainment, police extortion and other violations of human and labour rights which are well documented in Canada in reports such as the Report of an Inquiry into administration of internal investigations by the Metropolitan Toronto Police Force. (The Ontario Civilian Commission On Police Services, August 1992.)
THEREFORE, your petitioners call upon Parliament to not consider enacting Bill 397 which is currently before the House of Commons and not to consider any other legislation to come before this government that would change the summary conviction status of s. 213 of the Criminal Code of Canada.
Signatures: Addresses: (sign your own name, (Give your full home address Do not print.) or your city and province.) 1. ____________________________ ____________________________ 2. ____________________________ ____________________________ 3. ____________________________ ____________________________
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