Sex workers celebrate as Canada court lifts ban on brothels
A Canadian court has overturned a national ban on brothels after a challenge by prostitutes who argued that the law forced them to risk their safety by working on the streets.
The court in Ontario dismissed bans on pimping, soliciting and running brothels in a case that could set a precedent for the country. Prostitution is not illegal in Canada, but it is heavily regulated.
The Ontario superior court upheld a challenge brought by three prostitutes, who said the ban endangered their health and forced them into unsafe working conditions.
Justice Susan Himel ruled this week that the dangers prostitutes faced on the streets far outweighed any harm caused to the public by the existence of brothels.
Himel said the laws set up to protect prostitutes actually harmed them.
The 131-page ruling said the ban violated a provision of the constitution guaranteeing "the right to life, liberty and security", and called on the Canadian parliament to regulate the sex trade rather than ban such practices.
"These laws … force prostitutes to choose between their liberty, interest and their right to security of the person," she said.
One of the women who brought the case, Terri-Jean Bedford, argued that the provisions forced sex-trade workers away from the safety of their homes to face violence on the streets. She described the judgment as "like emancipation day for sex-trade workers".
She told a press conference: "You can't imagine how happy I am today because I've been abused by the justice system for a very long time. The federal government must now take a stand and clarify what is legal and not legal between consenting adults in private."
Valerie Scott, another of the three women, said sex workers could now pick up the phone and call the police to report a client who had mistreated them.
Scott, 52, who has worked on the streets and in massage parlours, said the ruling would allow sex workers to set up unions, have health and safety standards, hire bodyguards, and pay income tax.
"We are not aliens," she said. "We are ordinary people and now we have rights.
The Harper government will appeal
Yeah! what a surprise!
OTTAWA — The Harper government will appeal an Ontario court ruling that struck down three federal prostitution laws as unconstitutional.
Justice Minister Rob Nicholson is expected to make a statement Wednesday afternoon confirming the government's intention to continue the legal battle to preserve Canada's anti-prostitution laws.
A landmark ruling, handed down Tuesday by the Ontario Superior Court, only strikes down the laws in Ontario, but if it survives an appeal, it will end up being the law in other jurisdictions in Canada.
In a 131-page ruling, Justice Susan Himel wrote that the Criminal Code clauses prohibiting sex workers from running a bawdy house, communicating for the purpose of prostitution and living off the avails of prostitution, put their lives at risk.
"These laws, individually and together, force prostitutes to choose between their liberty interest and their right to security of the person as protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms," she said.
Prostitution itself is not illegal. However, many aspects of prostitution have been criminalized by Parliament.
The provisions struck down by the judge relate to adult prostitution and do not affect sex-trade clauses involving people under 18 or measures that allow for the prosecution of pimps in the sex trade.
Nicholson has said he is "very concerned" about the court ruling.
Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Fed...#ixzz10wtrLCay
Don't forget there is a stay of 30 days on that ruling for the governement to decide if they want a longer stay(like up to appeal in 4-5 years or more)or not and also decide if they appeal,...they definitly WILL appeal....see and read the decision rendered:
Do not rejoice too fast and conclude that bawdy houses are now legal.Also do not think for a minute that Quebec has to follow Ontario Superior Court...