On Wednesday, April the 1st, Premier of Ontario, Canada, Katherine Wynne said that Ontario would uphold Canada’s new prostitution law —which criminalises paying for sex, and communicating or advertising for sex—following a review by the province’s Attorney-General, Madeline Meilleur, which found the new law to be constitutional.
Regional updates: North America and the Caribbean
Our members are listed on the left or you can click the red umbrellas on the map.
Regional Board Members
Shaunna-May Trotman (Guyana Sex Work Coalition), Guyana
Natasha Potvin (Peers Victoria Resources Society), Canada
NSWP Regional Network
The Caribbean Sex Workers Coalition (CSWC) is a regional network of organisations representing female, male and transgender sex workers. It was founded in 2011 and is based in Georgetown, Guyana.
News articles from North America and Caribbean region are listed below.
In December 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada (Bedford Decision) struck down all three sections of the Criminal Code that outlawed prostitution, on the grounds that the laws violated sex workers' right to security of the person. In other words, the laws prevented sex workers from employing precautions that would increase their safety on the job. The Court gave the government one year to make new laws.
Enacted in December, 2014, The Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act (PCEPA) makes it a crime to:
On Tuesday the 24th of March, sex worker organisations participated in the Public Policy Forum on Violence and Health in Sexual Work in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
The forum was hosted by the Domincan Republic’s first sex worker organisation, Movimiento de Mujeres Unidas (MODEMU), (United Women's Movement), and supported by the Latin America and Caribbean Sex Workers Network (REDTRASEX).
On Monday March the 16th, the New York State Assembly passed legislation that would allow for tougher penalties for traffickers, sending them to prison for at least five years and up to 25 years.
The Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act (TVPJA) was split off from a package of “women’s equality” bills that had stalled because of a disagreement with the Republican-controlled Senate over abortion rights.
On Friday, March the 13th, several sex worker advocates addressed a parallel event during the Committee on the Status of Women Forum at the United Nations in New York City.
Geneva- Representatives of U.S..-based sex worker rights organisations will travel to Geneva, Switzerland next week, March 15-21st, to meet with members of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC), and to call for greater human rights protections. As the HRC prepares for a review of the U.S.’ human rights record later this spring, civil society organisations from throughout the U.S.. are travelling to Geneva to educate members about violations of civil, political, economic and social human rights in the U.S..
Last week, the San Francisco-based sex workers’ advocacy group, Erotic Service Providers Legal, Education, and Research Project (ESPLERP) filed a lawsuit against the attorney general of the state of California and several District Attorneys charging that California’s current law against prostitution, Penal Code 647(b), is unconstitutional. The group’s attorney says that their case could potentially lead to the decriminalisation of prostitution in several states in the western United States.
The long-running case against Monica Jones for “manifesting prostitution” has finally been dropped, one month after her April 2014 conviction was overturned in an Arizona court of appeals.
On February 23, Sumaya Ysl, a trans woman sex worker of color, was found murdered in Toronto. Ysl’s death has added to a growing list of trans women, most of them women of colour, who have been lost to violence in North America this year. The confirmed number currently stands at eight.
In the state of Washington, USA, politicians are considering several new proposals to “end demand” for paid sex. Senate Bill 5277 (sponsored by Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles (Democrat), Senator Jeannie Darneille (Democrat) and Senator Mike Padden (Republican) among others) would increase the penalty for buying sex from a misdemeanor to a gross misdemeanor, which means a fine of up to $5,000, up to a year in jail, or both.