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Is a major shake-up of Canada’s prostitution laws on the horizon?

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A Canadian judge has ruled that key provisions of Canada’s prostitution laws endanger those that they are meant to protect.

In a surprising legal victory for the three sex workers who took the case to court, Ontario Supreme Court Judge Susan Himel declared that restrictions on prostitution in Canada’s Criminal Code forced women onto the streets to conduct business under the threats of violence and arrest.

Whilst known prostitutes cannot theoretically be arrested simply owing to their occupation status, the Canadian parliament has seen fit to criminalize most aspects of prostitution – and Judge Himel noted that this effectively infringes upon sex workers’ constitutional rights.

Valerie Scott – one of the named prostitutes in the lawsuit – said “I file income tax as a sex worker… I have that responsibility, but I don’t have the rights that come with that responsibility.”

Judge Himel further added that the existing laws force prostitutes to choose between their liberty interest and their right to security of person – the danger that faces prostitutes is seen to greatly outweigh any harm posed to other members of the public.

The current clandestine nature of prostitution in Canada forces sex workers to establish client contacts hastily, and often leads to experiences of violence and drug abuse.

It was accepted that indoor prostitution is comparatively safer, such as brothels like the one that Valerie Scott will attend the University of Toronto’s business school in order to set up.

You can read the full story over at CNN.

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