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Prostitution and civil rights

Here\’s a court that seems to have it right:

An Ontario court has struck down several key provisions in Canada\’s anti-prostitution laws, saying they are dangerous to sex-trade workers.

A ruling by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice said the laws against keeping a common bawdy house, communicating for the purposes of prostitution and living on the avails of the trade \”are not in accord with the principles of fundamental justice.\”

\”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,\” Justice Susan Himel wrote her in 131-page decision, which struck down those provisions.

\”I find that the danger faced by prostitutes greatly outweighs any harm which may be faced by the public.\”


Young said the case was based on the fact that the provisions the court struck down compromised the safety of sex workers. For instance, the prohibition on communicating for the purpose of prostitution prevented sex workers from screening their clients, while the provision against operating a bawdy house prevented them from moving their business off the streets, where it is more dangerous.

Wonder how a challenge like that would work under the European Court of Human Rights?

3 thoughts on “Prostitution and civil rights”

  1. Sadly the story isn’t ending there. The BBC have a quote from a member of the government in Canada: “There’s a lot of victims in that industry and we need to protect them.” Apparently protecting people means doing the opposite of what they want and appealing the ruling.

    Also: “Conservative officials vowed to defend the laws found unconstitutional, saying prostitution harms women in the trade.” Whereas the laws they’re trying to defend…..

  2. I should think that the ECJ will side with the state: it likes to not rule on “moral” issues like this (it has bent over backwards to allow Germany’s Holocaust-denying laws).

  3. Whatever the ultimate outcome, it’s nice to see radical feminist “expert witnesses” like Melissa Farley take a beating.

    Some of their wild claims, like the idea that legal brothels in Nevada keep prostitutes locked up in cages, were completely shot down.

    Even the judge criticised them for their misleading or incorrect statistics, and for being alarmist and emotionally manipulative, rather than sticking to the relevant facts.

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