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Sex workers tell police: Protect us, not punish us

Sex workers and human rights supporters are sending a message of solidarity to the government and Ottawa police Friday night.

Sex workers and human rights supporters are sending a message of solidarity to the government and Ottawa police Friday night.

The group will hold a vigil to mark the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers and voice concerns about police treatment.

“Ottawa police are not protecting sex workers,” said Christine Bruckert, associate professor of criminology at the University of Ottawa, adding some officers usually do not help
assaulted sex workers.

Her new report, Challenges: Ottawa Area Sex Workers Speak Out, documents the stories of about 40 sex workers who shed light on issues, including police turning a blind eye to sex worker abuse.

“The violence is something that needs to be recognized,” said Bruckert.

The names of sex workers who have been murdered worldwide as well as quotes from the report will be read aloud at the Human Rights Memorial.

“We now have Ottawa-based stories of how the violence happened,” said Frédérique Chabot, vice-chair of Prostitutes of Ottawa/Gatineau, Work, Educate, and Resist (Power). Tension between sex workers and police was “the main concern” in the new report.

The global movement will also be held in Toronto, Montreal and Halifax.

 
 
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