Maggie’s:the Toronto Sex Workers Action Project Supports Former Sex Worker Appeal in

January 25, 2010

Toronto: Maggie’s, the Toronto-based sex
workers’ rights organization, demands that the court allow former sex worker
Sheryl Kiselback and Sex Workers United Against Violence (SWUAV) legal standing
to challenge the constitutionality of the prostitution laws. Ms. Kiselbach and
SWUAV will be in the BC Court of Appeal today appealing the December 2008
judgment from the BC Supreme Court on the motion to have the challenge to
prostitution-related provision of the Criminal Code struck out due to lack of

August 2007, British Columbia-based Sex Workers United Against Violence (SWUAV)
initiated a case challenging sections of the prostitution-related provisions of
the Criminal Code. Sheryl Kiselbach, a former sex worker with 30 years of
experience working in the sex industry, joined the challenge as plaintiff.

The BC
Supreme Court (Mr. Justice Ehrcke) ruled that the plaintiffs in the case, SWUAV
and Ms. Kiselbach, did not have standing to challenge these laws. The Court
ruled that the plaintiffs did not have the legal right to initiate such a
challenge because it must be brought by an individual, active sex worker,
rather than a former sex worker and an organization.

The Toronto Sex Workers’ Action Project supports both the appeal and the
constitutional challenge to the prostitution laws. According to Maggie’s
spokeswoman Elya Durisin, “This appeal is of critical importance to sex
workers. We know from the lived experience of sex workers that the criminal
laws have a direct and negative effect on workers’ abilities to work in safety
and security. It’s imperative that sex workers have the opportunity to
challenge these laws.”

and former sex workers face many barriers to challenging the laws, including
criminalization and discrimination. Limiting the ability of the plaintiffs to
bring forth this challenge affects sex workers and the ability of all
marginalized persons to access justice and to protect their human rights. There
is also a challenge to the constitutionality of the prostitution laws currently
underway in Ontario, the case is awaiting decision in a Toronto court.

media inquiries, please contact Elya Durisin at:


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