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This NSWP Briefing Note provides information about the United States’ recent legislation - The Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) and Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) -that criminalise online platforms used by sex workers for advertising and information sharing, including for safety purposes. The resource provides details on FOSTA/SESTA and the 'End Banking for Human Traffickers Act', which aims to ‘prevent financial transactions involving the proceeds of severe forms of trafficking'. 

Download this resource: PDF icon U.S.A. FOSTA Legislation, NSWP - 2018

This article discusses sex worker organising in the United States. It's full title is 'United States Organising: It Is Not Okay to De-Legitimise Sex Work Under Guise of Trafficking and End Demand'. It was written by Cris Sardina of the Desiree Alliance, Penelope Saunders of the Best Practices Policy Project (BPPP) and others from local communities in the US. The article was published as part of Research for Sex Work 14: Sex Work is Work. Contents include:

In 2013, the Human Trafficking Intervention Courts (HTICs) were launched in New York. These courts were the USA's first statewide human trafficking intervention within a justice system. This research explores the impact of these courts through studying 364 cases in 2013 and 2014. It concludes that the HTICS do not respect the human rights of the people they process and distort the line between consent and coercion. This makes it more difficult for people who are victimised – by clients, ‘pimps’, police, and courts – to seek justice.

NSWP member Stella produced 9 fact sheets for sex workers in Canada. The fact sheets provide important information about the changes to Canadian law (the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act, 2014) that criminalise sex workers, clients, and third parties. The fact sheets offer practical tools for sex workers and explain how the new laws negatively impact sex workers.

This study gives a legal analysis of the legislative framework and jurisprudence relating to human trafficking in Canada. It also analyses the views of both criminal justice system personnel and SWAN society personnel on the enforcement and use of anti-trafficking legal measures. Contents include:

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 A “working paper” prepared as background to Building on the Evidence: An International Symposium on the Sex Industry in Canada

This paper is a result of a research programme in Canada’s sex industry: workers and their intimate partners, managers and clients.

In December 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously decided that several parts of Canada’s Criminal Code dealing with prostitution are unconstitutional because they violate the rights of sex workers by undermining their health and safety. The Supreme Court decided that its ruling would take effect in one year’s time, at which point those unconstitutional parts of the law would no longer be in force.

Download this resource: PDF icon BILLC36_infosheet.pdf

On June 4th, 2014 Justice Minister Peter MacKay introduced Bill C-36, the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act. The draft legislation proposes a legal frameworkthat criminalises communication in public for the purpose of prostitution, the purchase ofsexual services, material benefit, and the advertisement of sexual services.

On December 20, 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada rendered a landmark decision that substantially reshaped Canada’s legal framework regarding adult sex work. The case of Bedford v. Canada resulted in the striking down of three provisions of the Criminal Code: the communication, bawdy-house and living on the avails laws. The Court found that these three provisions violate section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (the “Charter”) given their negative impact on sex workers’ security of the person.

Download this resource: PDF icon My_Work_Should_Not_Cost_Me_My_Life.pdf

This  resource looks at the Canadian legal system and hierarchy of laws from the perspective of launching a court case to protect the rights of sex workers. It discusses the Canadian law and sex workers' rights, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, limits to the Charter, and how to challenge unconstitutional laws.

Download this resource: PDF icon StellaInfoSheetCharter.pdf

This concise, Canadian resource looks at why we need prostitution law reform, what the decriminalisation of sex work is, how decriminalisation happens, decriminalisation through the court system, and how to support sex workers in law reform. It notes, "decriminalisation alone cannot overcome all of the other injustices that many of us face, but it is a necessary step to protecting and respecting sex workers' rights".

Download this resource: PDF icon StellaInfoSheetTheBasic.pdf

This resource offers a succinct introduction to the Bedford v. Canada Supreme Court case. Bedford v. Canada challenges three anti-sex work laws in Canada which prevent sex workers from engaging in safety measures that would make their work safer. The appellants in the care are challenging the constitutionality of the communicating, brothel keeping, and living off the avails provisions in the Criminal Code of Canada. They say these laws violate their right to Life, Liberty, and Security of the Person as guaranteed in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Download this resource: PDF icon StellaInfoSheetBedford.pdf

The article examines how language helps the construction of fictive kinships networks (family-like structures among marginalized populations) amongst Southwestern U.S. street-level sex workers. These networks establish ties and obligations - as well as power structures - between members of the community.

This briefing from the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network considers the impact of the "Swedish" or "Nordic" model on sex workers.  Examining its harmful effects, this paper argues that this approach would not withstand constitutional scrutiny in Canada.

The briefing also makes recommendations to the Canadian Parliament as follows:

  • Parliament should repeal the section of the Criminal Code that makes it an offence to communicate in a public place for the purposes of prostitution
  • Parliament should repeal the bawdy-house sections of the Criminal Code
  • Parliament should repeal the subsections of the procuring sections of the Criminal Code that relate to bawdy-houses
  • Parliament should repeal the section of the Criminal Code that makes it an offence to live on the avails of prostitution
  • Parliament should repeal the reverse-onus subsection of the Criminal Code as it applies to living on the avails of prostitution

For full details you can download this useful 6 page PDF document above.  This resource is in English.

Download this resource: PDF icon NordicBrief-ENG.pdf