VICTORY! Canadian High Court Strikes Down All Anti-Prostitution Laws

In a landmark decision, Canada’s highest court has struck down all of the nation’s anti-prostitution laws as unconstitutional in a unanimous judgment, Toronto Star reported.


The Supreme Court found that all three laws violated the Canadian Constitution’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, specifically it infringed on the guarantee to life and liberty by depriving sex workers of their security of person.

The court held that the laws against keeping a brothel, living on the avails of prostitution and street soliciting imposed “dangerous conditions on prostitution" and "prevent people engaged in a risky, but legal activity from taking steps to protect themselves from the risks."

The decision upheld Ontario's Court of Appeal's previous decision which had struck down the ban on brothels on the grounds it posed a real and grave danger to sex workers.

The ruling is a major win for sex industry advocates who have fought a long battle for safer working conditions.  As the judgment was handed down, sex workers rejoiced loudly and broke out into cheers heard throughout the court building.  

Toronto-based dominatrix Terri-Jean Bedford who brought the appeal said the political battle will now begin.

“Wow. Yes! Great day for Canada and Canadian women from coast to coast. Now the government must tell Canadians, all consenting adults, what we can and cannot do in the privacy of our own home, for money or not, and they must write laws that are fair . . . Victory,” she said.

The historical ruling, which poignantly arrives on the heels of last week’s celebration of International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, gives Parliament a one-year reprieve to redraft new legislation with the hope of reshaping government policy on the world's oldest profession.

The triumph comes 34 years after the Supreme Court last upheld Canada’s anti-prostitution laws, Huff Post reported.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

Close
alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.