The Green Party of Quebec wants to decriminalize prostitution

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Green Party leader Alex Tyrrell, Halimatou Bah, deputy leader and candidate in Sanguinet, and Jamie D'Souza, candidate in Rosemont, took the stage this Thursday in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve to present the party's position and demands for better regulation of prostitution and legislation against street harassment. This is a very important announcement for the party, which is a feminist political party that demands social justice. The PVQ does not wish to promote sex work, but does want to limit the violence against sex workers and the precarious situations they often face. 

The murder of Marylène Levesque, a sex worker killed by one of her clients, and the numerous feminicides in Quebec have highlighted the insecurity present in the sex industry. In response to this problem of violence against sex workers, the Green Party of Quebec believes that the safety of women and men in the sex trade can be better guaranteed by decriminalizing prostitution at the federal level, which would enable the provincial government to regulate prostitution, drastically reduce cases of abuse and human trafficking, and reduce violence against women. The party is convinced that such an approach, which has already been adopted in some European countries, will also enable this sector of activity to be regulated by labour law, thereby improving the working conditions of sex workers in general by granting them rights, dignity and access to essential services, including physical and mental health care better adapted to their realities. 

Sex workers are often in a precarious situation and want to make a secure living from their work without being criminalized. The current criminalization of sex workers feeds the stigma attached to them, reinforces the dynamics of violence, human trafficking, police repression, systemic racism and discrimination, while generating substantial profits for organized crime and pimps. Like drugs, sex work cannot be eliminated by criminalizing it. This reality, combined with the violence committed against sex workers, obliges us as a society to change our approach in order to protect vulnerable people. The Green Party of Quebec wants to give sex workers greater decision-making autonomy when it comes to their workplace, and greater respect for their bodies, their decisions and their fundamental rights, in order to reduce violence.

When it comes to street harassment, the PVQ believes that These acts are rarely punished; the severity is sometimes not enough to lead to criminal convictions, but it should still be illegal. For this reason, the Green Party of Quebec proposes the introduction of a provincial law (outside the Criminal Code) that would impose fines on those convicted of making unsolicited, vulgar sexual comments in public places to people they don't know. Implementing this law would work in a similar way to sanctioning illegal street crossings. This measure would be both symbolic, to clearly place street harassment outside the social norm, and practical, in cases where the police witness street harassment directly and can intervene. The aim is to support survivors of sexual assault and harassment, and to crack down on violence against women.

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