Calls to Action: Petition & Email Template  

On March 16, 2021, eight individuals were murdered in three businesses offering massage services in Atlanta. Whether or not the women murdered were sex workers, they were targeted because the shooter believed that they were.


Horrendous acts of violence based on sex work stigma, racism and misogyny can often make us want to spring into action. We are deeply grateful for all the support you have provided SWAN Vancouver. Now that we have your attention, we hope we can start a broader conversation to push for the systemic changes needed to address the violence experienced by migrant and immigrant (im/migrant) sex workers here in Canada.


The criminalization of sex work in Canada pushes sex work underground and prevents im/migrant sex workers from working in safe work environments and accessing labour protections. It results in stigma that impedes access to basic services, like health care; and it prevents im/migrant sex workers from reporting violence to the authorities, allowing predators to enact violence with impunity.


But there is something you can do about it! Let the federal government know that Canada’s prostitution laws and the immigration prohibition on sex work impede im/migrant sex workers from reporting violence, violate their legal rights, and prevent them from accessing labour protections. Sex work decriminalization is needed now and it MUST include im/migrant sex workers!

Take action:


  • Send a letter to the federal government, using the letter template below, outlining why decriminalizing sex work MUST include im/migrant sex workers and call on them to repeal the immigration prohibition on sex work.


To copy multiple email addresses:

  1. place your cursor at the very beginning of the first address in  the group you want to select.

  2. click right and hold down while you move your cursor to the very end of the last email in the group you are selecting.

  3. release the right side of your mouse - this should leave the group of addresses selected and allow you to copy them for pasting.

  4. to copy more than one address, select "copy" and not "copy email address."

  5. when you past, you may see a line of commas with this copy function icon: 

  6. click on the arrow for the Paste Options menu and select ""Keep Text Only" (the picture of the clipboard with the capital "A") - this should display the complete selection of emails you pasted.

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Email Template for Copying & Pasting:

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EMAIL SUBJECT LINE: Addressing Violence Against Im/Migrant Sex Workers


EMAIL TO:, and your local Member of Parliament (find which email to copy & paste here),,,,,,,,  (Click here for more information about these contacts and why they're included as recipients.)

BODY OF THE EMAIL:  Copy and paste the email text below into the body of the email. Consider customizing the email text according to your personal experience. Who are you? Why does this issue matter to you?

Dear Elected Officials,


In the aftermath of the Atlanta massacre on March 16, 2021, I am writing to express my concern about the violence perpetrated against migrant and immigrant (im/migrant) women who do sex work in Canada. I am demanding that the government decriminalize sex work, including migrant sex work.


I am appalled that im/migrant sex workers have little to no legal or labour protections in Canada. Canada’s prostitution and anti-trafficking laws, along with our immigration policies, impede im/migrant sex workers from coming forward if they experience violence. Further, the enforcement of these laws and policies is punitive rather than protective. I believe the full decriminalization of sex work is the only appropriate action at this time given the following:


  • The Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act (PCEPA) does not keep sex workers safe. Research has shown that PCEPA undermines sex workers’ safety, rights and ability to access vital health, justice and community-based supports.

  • The Immigration and Refugees Protection Regulations (IRPR) prohibition on sex work has been counter-productive. IRPR puts migrant sex workers, not only at increased risk of violence, but also arrest, detention and deportation.

  • Migrant sex workers experience multi-layered criminalization. If sex work was decriminalized in Canada, migrant sex workers would still be criminalized through the IRPR. Full decriminalization means migrant sex workers are not left behind.

  • Increased police presence does not keep im/migrant sex workers safe. Instead, it continues to surveil, oppress and harass some of Canada’s most systemically marginalized women and puts their lives at risk.

  • When predators act with impunity, no one in Canadian society is safer. Canadian prostitution laws, the immigration prohibition on sex work, and anti-trafficking enforcement impede im/migrant sex workers from reporting violent predators who freely roam in our communities.

I call upon you, and all our elected officials, to review the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act (overdue since December 6, 2019) and repeal the Immigration and Refugees Protections Regulations prohibition on sex work (ss. 183(1)(b.1), 196.1(a), 200(3)(g.1) and 203(2)(a)).


Instead of investing more resources in anti-trafficking initiatives and policing, our country must prioritize im/migrant sex workers’ safety. Instead of increasing police budgets with anti-trafficking funding, the government must fund alternatives such as sex work organizations, community outreach programs, anti-racism initiatives, and other vital community-based support systems. These initiatives must support our most impacted communities and center the experiences of im/migrant sex workers.


I call upon you to use your power to create a safer country by decriminalizing sex work, removing the immigration prohibition on sex work, and meaningfully engaging with sex work communities to determine how to work with them to meet their needs.


Yours sincerely,

       NAME or ALIAS



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These individuals are included as recipients because the federal government is responsible for criminal and immigration laws and policies.


  • Marco Mendicino (Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship)


  • David Lametti (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)


  • Your local Member of Parliament

                (if you're not sure who your local Member of Parliament is you can find out here


  • Justin Trudeau (Prime Minister)


  • Bill Blair (Minister of Public Safety)


  • Maryam Monsef (Minister for Women and Gender Equality)


  • Jagmeet Singh (NDP Leader)


  • Erin O'Toole (Conservative Leader)


  • Yves-Francois Blanchet (Bloc Québécois Leader)


  • Annamie Paul (Green Party Leader)


  • Randall Garrison (MP Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke, NDP Critic for Justice)


  • Jenny Kwan (MP Vancouver East, NDP Critic for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship)


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