Current Legal Debate

Current Legal Debate

Guide to the Issue Clippings
Collection 2014 – 2019

Justin Trudeau and the Sex Trade

I am the Bedford in Bedford Versus Canada, which struck down Canada’s sex trade laws in 2013. Since then plaintiffs Val Scott, Amy Leibovitch and I, along with Professor Alan Young, who led the Charter challenge, and the extraordinary sex trade reform activists across Canada, have written and spoken against the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act (PCEPA) of 2014, which replaced the 2013 laws. What follows are my personal observations and opinions.

Parts of PCEPA have been ruled unconstitutional by courts. Regardless of whether the law in whole or in part is not constitutional, it has by now become obvious that it must be removed or replaced. It replicates the harms of the old laws and has led to new harms. It has not abolished the sex trade nor made it safer for sex workers. Women have died and been harmed as a result of this Act.

Last week a review of PCEPA by the House of Commons Committee on Justice and Human Rights confirmed all this and recommended that PCEPA be removed or replaced. The New Democrats want the sex trade decriminalized. Mr. Trudeau, when in opposition, voted against PCEPA.

I have been receiving messages of support from around the world from people who have read my memoirs, Dominatrix on Trial, the second edition just published in New York. The first edition of the book was given to Jody Raybould-Wilson, then Justice Minister, just prior to her removal. I said there that our leaders, if they allow such laws to remain intact, have blood on their hands. That was the essential message of the Committee as well, in my opinion.

Women should have control over their own bodies. That means no laws saying they should only have sex for free. If Mr. Trudeau continues to uphold his predecessor’s law, which is nothing if not sexual slavery, he has blood on his hands. He should repeal PCEPA and use other, existing laws to deal with problems in the sex trade.

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