Canadian Ministers announced Wednesday that foreign workers cannot be hired in the sex trade industry, such as strip clubs, massage parlours or escort agencies. The federal government is taking action to combat abuse and exploitation.
“Frankly this should have been done a long time ago,” said Immigration Minister Jason Kenney at a press conference announcing the ban on sex trade industry employers from hiring workers outside the country, according to a news release.
Speaking alongside Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Diane Finley, Kenney asked why the federal government would permit work visas for foreign women who are at risk of being abused, trafficked and exploited. By denying sex trade businesses foreign workers “we’re protecting them from what they might not know will happen to them when they get to Canada.”
“Our government is committed to protecting all workers from abuse, exploitation and demeaning work,” said the Human Resources Minister. “Through collaborative partnerships and preventative action, these new measures will further strengthen Canada's National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking, which was launched in early June.”
As of Thursday, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada will distribute negative Labour Market Opinions (LMOs) for applications from employers affiliated with the sex trade sector. Furthermore, starting July 14, Citizenship and Immigration Canada will not process new work permit applications from temporary foreign workers who wish to work in places like a massage parlour, strip club or escort agency.
This may not be the end, though. More regulations are being developed under the Government’s National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking.
Meanwhile, head of the Adult Entertainment Association of Canada (AEAC) Tim Lambrinos told the Toronto Star that he is considering challenging the government’s latest ban. He added that the government must provide evidence that strip clubs are exploiting its employees.
“What the government is doing is destroying an industry, creating a labour shortage and driving those women into more precarious situations,” said the executive director of the AEAC. “Strip clubs are a very safe environment.”