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Canada anti-prostitution laws: Victory for sex workers, brothel keeping examined

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Canada anti-prostitution laws were up for serious discussion by the Supreme Court this week, with their unanimous ruling today standing as a major victory for sex workers in choosing to strike down the country’s prostitution laws more completely than ever before. One such issue brought up during the decision-making process and closely examined in congregation was the right of keeping a brothel. CBS News offers the latest update on this relatively groundbreaking verdict involving prostitutes this Friday, Dec. 20. 2013.

These Canada anti-prostitution laws have been officially struck down by the country’s highest courts this Dec., with all nine Supreme Court justice members supporting the ruling, leaving none in dissent. The move is being widely viewed as a victory for sex workers in Canada who were fighting for safer working conditions, as the government had discovered such laws (or lack thereof) were “violating the guarantee [of prostitutes’ rights] to life, liberty, and the security of an individual.” However, an important addendum to remember is that the decision similarly provides Parliament with a full year reprieve to alter or react with any new legislation that is deemed necessary in light of the vote.

Though some in the U.S. are unaware of it, prostitution is not illegal in Canada. However, numerous “activities” that are closely or commonly tied with the act of paying for sexual pleasure or gratification can be classified as serious criminal offenses. These rights were similarly examined by the high court, all of whom again found equal footing in their ruling:

“The nation’s highest court struck down all three laws in this sex workers’ “victory”: against keeping a brothel, living on the avails of prostitution, and street soliciting. The landmark ruling comes a full 34 years after the Supreme Court last upheld the country's anti-prostitution laws … Meanwhile, Ontario's Appeal Court had previously struck down the region’s ban on brothels on the grounds it exposed women to more danger.”

According to the press release in terms of these Canada anti-prostitution laws, the federal government had appealed the decision that would be able to alter or even invalidate such laws, as a supported group of sex trade workers that brought the case to a head were the first to appeal the soliciting ban itself. It remains to be seen the critical and public reaction that will result from the Supreme Court’s decision-making on such a contentious issue this week.



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