Drs. Kate Shannon, Chris Bruckert and Frances Shaver co-authored an Op-Ed in the National Post calling for the federal goverment to meaningfully consult with experts, including sex workers, research and human rights experts, about the future of sex work law in Canada to ensure the safety, health and human rights of sex workers.
The unanimous decison by the Supreme Court of Canada in the Bedford case last December was very clear: the current criminalization regime is not only ineffective at protecting sex workers but is having devastating consequences on sex workers' safety, health and human rights.
As the Global Commission on HIV and the Law so aptly stated: "the law is the torturer's fist or the healer's hand." The law is a powerful tool to reduce global social and health inequities and ensure human rights for all, but it is also a dangerous weapon with which to limit the rights of marginalized populations in the name of "social morality" or "public nuisance." Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms stands as a model for ensuring laws uphold rights afforded to all citizens, including rights to security, liberty and equality.