Concertation of struggles against sexual exploitation (CLES)

The Concertation of struggles against sexual exploitation is a coalition of organizations and individuals who are critical of the sex industry. We are rape crisis centre activists, street workers, sociologists, students, feminists critical of globalization and other people concerned by this problem. We believe that a world without prostitution is possible if we provide substantive support to women in situations of prostitution and if we stand up to the people who exploit them. We maintain working relationships with abolitionist activists in British Columbia, Europe and the United States.

Created in November 2004, CLES focuses on awareness-raising and intervention based on the lived experiences and speaking out of women struggling with prostitution, in order to debunk the myths surrounding the sex industry and to establish its link with other forms of violence against women.

In less than four years, CLES members have, collectively and individually, supported women in situations of prostitution, relayed their experiences, researched the trafficking in women and the politics of clients (prostitutors), organized public conferences featuring national and international experts[1], organized information and consultation sessions in community environments, presented briefs to Parliament, organized pressure campaigns, met and discussed with politicians, published and distributed books, brochures, articles and films, briefed journalists, organized press conferences and attended symposia, met and trained community groups, written manifestoes and op-eds and raised these issues in our respective environments and at public events. All this work has been done on a volunteer basis, using our personal resources.

In April 2008, CLES became involved in a 3-year program aimed at creating educational resources and outreaching with training programs about the reality of the sex industry. This project is supported by a grant from Status of Women Canada.

A non-hierarchical structure of approximately fifteen members, CLES meets once a month and decides its actions by consensus. A few hundred sympathizers collaborate in its actions.

To know more about CLES or to join the organization, please write: ; 514-750-4535

October 8, 2008


[1] From its beginnings, CLES had provided public platforms for many experts on these issues, both from Canada and abroad :

  • Amanthe Bathalien, social worker, specialized in child sexual abuse issues
  • Aurélie Lebrun, researcher and author of a doctoral thesis on clients of prostitution
  • Christine Marie Burtin, front-line worker and researcher
  • Claudine Legardinier, French journalist and author (Les trafics du sexe, Les clients de la prostitution)
  • Coline Serreau, French film-maker (CHAOS, La Crise, Trois hommes et un couffin and many other feature-length productions)
  • Gunilla Ekberg, feminist lawyer and current co-president of Coalition Against Trafficking of Women (CATW)
  • Indrani Sinha, founder of Sanlaap, an organization fighting the trafficking of women and children in India
  • Maria Mourani, criminologist, member of Parliament (Bloc québécois) and author (La face cachée des gangs de rue)
  • Melissa Farley, U.S. researcher and author (Prostitution, Trafficking and Traumatic Stress)
  • Rhéa Jean, researcher and philosopher
  • Richard Poulin, sociologist and author (Prostitution : la mondialisation incarnée, Enfances dévastées)
  • Rose Dufour, anthropologist, front-line worker and author (Je vous salue : Marion, Carmen, Clémentine, Eddy, Jo-Annie)
  • Yolande Geadah, author (Prostitution : Un métier comme un autre?)
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