“This is really, extremely harmful”.
Words from someone working to combat human sex trafficking?
No. Words from a representative of the sex industry.
Elene Lam is speaking out against Bill 251: legislation aimed at ending human trafficking in Ontario and supporting persons who have experienced human trafficking. Lam, who represents “Butterfly” (an Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Support Network), claims “Bill 251 not only harms sex workers, migrants, Indigenous, Black, Asian and other people of colour, it affects everyone.” Lam’s fear is the bill will have damaging consequences on the business of “sex for sale”, and will grey the area between sex work and human trafficking.
Bill 251 was first introduced on February 22nd and passed Second Reading in Ontario’s Legislative Assembly May 6th. Next on the agenda is review by the Standing Committee on Justice Policy (where amendments may be tabled), followed by a Third Reading, and then Royal Assent (made law). And this has many people involved in the sex trade very nervous.
Over 70 legal and human rights organizations have written to the provincial government in opposition to the bill. The site “Stop Bill 251” says it is in favour of Provincial resources being redirected to help “marginalized communities”, but contains the hashtags #CopsAreNotProtectingUs, #NoMorePolicing, and #NoMoreRescue. The statement also links to the website, noprideinpolicing.ca, which shows that the “queer and trans organization” is tied to the Marxist BLM and Antifa networks.
But the fact of the matter is, the victims of these human trafficking crimes do need policing, protection, and rescue. Solicitor General Sylvia Jones declared upon introduction of the bill in February, “Human trafficking is a vicious and violent crime that has profound and lasting impacts. I will remind members, as I always do, that the average age of those who are trafficked is only 13 years old.” Jill Dunlop, Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues and co-lead on Bill 251, stated March 2nd in Parliament, “Tragically, human trafficking has become a growing threat to women, children and other vulnerable people around the world—a threat that we are also facing on a daily basis here in Ontario. Unfortunately, our province is a hub for human trafficking, accounting for just over half of police-reported incidents in Canada in 2019”.
While opponents of Bill 251 believe it will be used to surreptitiously target sex workers, Solicitor General spokesman Stephen Warner said, “the legislation does not target sex workers.”
Across Canada, human trafficking has been on the rise, as evidenced by this news report conducted in 2013: