Sex Worker Rights

Frances is a proud sex worker rights lawyer in Vancouver. Sex work is real work, and sex workers deserve the same rights granted to everyone else. Frances has dedicated her career to advancing these issues in the courtroom and beyond. She is one of the only lawyers in Canada with both significant legal experience and cultural competence with issues impacting sex workers.

Here is what one client has to say about Frances’ work:

“Frances has given me priceless legal advice and guidance over the past few years. Given the nature of sex work, I require the assistance of someone familiar with the work and its community. Frances has a keen understanding of the challenges sex workers face, and provides advice and guidance with dignity, empathy, professionalism, and discretion. She is the first person I think on when recommending a lawyer to my colleagues. I can’t thank her enough for all she’s done for myself and the sex worker community in general.”

Frances regularly provides advice to sex workers and advocacy organizations throughout Canada on their rights and obligations under the law. She helps people who are dealing with criminal charges and immigration issues, as well as victims of crime, and anyone looking for general advice from a lawyer who “gets it”.

Migrant sex workers face unique challenges due to the overlap in criminal law and immigration enforcement, and are especially vulnerable to detention and deportation from Canada. Frances can assist migrant sex workers with detention review (bail) and admissibility hearings at the Immigration Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board, and with appeals and judicial reviews.

In addition to her criminal defence and immigration services, Frances helps providers dealing with harassment from clients, by documenting the experience, preparing cease and desist letters, and making police complaints. She also provides advice about the challenges sex workers may face when crossing borders, particularly into the U.S.

A small sampling of her advocacy for sex worker rights includes:

Appearing as a witness at the Senate on Bill C-36, the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act

Working with Maggie’s Toronto and Butterfly Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Network on issues of by-law enforcement and deportation for migrant massage parlour workers in Toronto

As a law student, Frances worked with the legal team for Terri-Jean Bedford, Valerie Scott and Amy Lebovitz on Bedford v. Canada, the landmark Supreme Court of Canada case which sought to improve safety and security for sex workers

Leading a tour of Toronto’s sex work history for The Power Plant art gallery (with Megan Ross)

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