Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Arguments to begin over sex-trade ruling

  • Print

TORONTO -- Johns openly soliciting prostitutes near schoolyards, brothels with naked women dancing in the windows and Canada becoming a destination for trafficking young girls -- these are some of the doomsday scenarios the federal government cautions may occur if Ontario's highest court agrees this week to uphold an earlier decision to decriminalize the sex-trade industry.

Ottawa and the provincial government will begin arguments to a five-justice panel today at the Ontario Court of Appeal on why a lower-court judge erred last year when she struck down three prostitution-related laws as unconstitutional.

In a controversial, 130-page decision that took more than one year to prepare, Ontario Superior Court Justice Susan Himel concluded the provisions prohibiting operating or working in a brothel, communicating for the purpose of prostitution and living off the avails of prostitution contravene a person's right to safety and liberty and endanger sex workers by forcing them to ply their trade underground.

To the three women who launched the constitutional challenge five years ago, this appeal has little to do with morality or public opinion of selling one's body for money but the obligation the law has to protect all its citizens, regardless of occupation.

"The laws are not working at all," said complainant Valerie Scott, a longtime prostitute and massage-parlour worker. "We need occupational health and safety options. We need to be treated like the legitimate business we are."

Scott, who is also the legal adviser for the national Toronto-based group, Sex Professionals of Canada, argues the governments are using "fear-mongering" tactics to scare the public about the realities of the sex-trade industry. She contends that if prostitutes were permitted to work openly, they would be able to organize in groups for protection, get away from pimps and not be afraid to report abuses by clients to the police. They also would be able to have more financial security, pay taxes and support themselves without fear of prosecution.

But in a lengthy factum filed three months ago, the government stated its position that sex workers should have no expectations of being safe when they choose to enter into an illegal trade, one that is rife with crime, drugs and violence. Furthermore, the dangerous conditions surrounding the underground industry are a result of their efforts to evade the law, and should not justify those laws being changed.

-- Postmedia News

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 13, 2011 A6

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Reimagining Winnipeg as the big city of the future

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • June 24, 2012 - 120624  -  Amusement riders on the last day of The Ex Sunday June 24, 2012.    John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press
  • JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Local- A large osprey lands in it's nest in a hydro pole on Hyw 59  near the Hillside Beach turnoff turn off. Osprey a large narrow winged hawk which can have a wingspan of over 54 inches are making a incredible recovery since pesticide use of the 1950's and  1960's- For the last two decades these fish hawks have been reappearing in the Lake Winnipeg area- Aug 03, 2005

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you think the Jets' three pre-season losses in a row are a sign of things to come?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google