1. Call your Member of Parliament before the second reading of the bill (this will be happening either tomorrow (June 12th) or Thursday (June 13th) by the sounds of things). While you’re at it, send them an email, a tweet and a Facebook message. Feel free to use the text below:
Dear ______________________________________ , I’m writing to call on you as a Member of Parliament to defend sex workers’ right to safety and security by taking a vocal stand against Bill C-36. The Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act does not protect the safety of people working in the sex industry. In December 2013, the SCC unanimously decided that Canada’s anti-prostitution laws were unconstitutional because they imposed dangerous conditions on sex workers and violated their right to safety and security. Bill C-36 does not assist individuals in need of support or eliminate the dangers of the sex industry. Instead, there is clear evidence that the new laws will force sex workers into dangerous conditions by pushing them into isolated areas, limiting their ability to take life-saving measures such as screening clients, limiting their ability to negotiate consent and safer sex practices, and preventing them from working together. If passed, these laws will have disproportionate consequences for marginalized people including people of colour, and Indigenous, and trans* sex workers. I call on Peter MacKay and the Government of Canada to draft legislation that truly protects sex workers’ lives and livelihoods. I call on Members of Parliament from all parties to vocally oppose any criminalization regimes, and to ensure that sex workers’ voices are included in any decisions about laws that will impact them.
3. Attend the National Day of Action: Criminalization Costs Sex Worker Lives. This rally and march is a great opportunity to stand in solidarity with sex workers across the country.
4. If you’re able, donate some cash to your local sex-worker run, harm-reduction organization. There are lots of costs associated with advocacy (printing, rallies, travel, etc) and many of these organizations are already strapped for cash. Alternatively, help cover these costs in other ways; maybe your work can offer free space or offer a discount on printing.
6. If you know a sex worker or a person who works with sex workers, ask them what they need and how you can help. This week has been hectic for many, so maybe the answer will be “yeah, we’ve been fielding calls from the media all week and our dishes haven’t been done”. Doing the dishes, and other support work, is a great role for allies.