London, Ont. couple who challenged Canada's prostitution laws continuing fight
The operators of a London, Ont. escort service who helped bring down parts of Canada's sex work legislation, say they are going back to court to continue the fight.
Tiffany and Hamad Anwar had been charged under the Criminal Code with procuring, receiving material benefit and advertising to provide sexual services for consideration.
They launched a constitutional challenge, successfully arguing the law against advertising violates freedom of expression and the law regarding procuring violates "security of a person."
An agreed statement of facts found the business offered employees benefits, safety and professional work.
The couple had hoped for an appeal that would send the issue to Superior Court, but the attorney general declined to do so.
They say they now have the finances to launch a civil suit aimed at changing the laws to make sex workers safer.
In a statement Tiffany said, “This time we’ve brought on board other sex workers and a sex work organization to join me (to) launch this constitutional challenge. It’s clear these laws effect not only women as individuals, but historically disadvantaged groups. Sex workers are in danger every single day and we’re looking to change that.”
James Lockyer, a well-known constitutional lawyer, is handling the case.
They are joined in the case by the Canadian Alliance for Sex Work Law Reform – a group of 25 sex worker rights groups from across Canada and several other former sex workers.
Together they have filed a Notice of Application to strike down the following sex work prohibitions;
- impeding traffic (s. 213(1))
- public communication (s. 213(1.1))
- purchasing (s.286.1(1))
- materially benefiting (s. 286.2(1))
- recruiting (s. 286.3(1))
- advertising (s. 286.4)
The alliance's national coordinator, Jenn Clamen, added in a statement, “We have been patiently waiting on the empty promises of parliamentarians to uphold the rights of sex workers…This government has spent five years paying lip service to human rights and to feminism, and it’s time for them to act.”