June 18, 2011 by staff
Anti-prostitution Laws, The question of whether anti-prostitution laws violate the Canadian Charter, endangering sex workers is now, with five judges in the Superior Court of Ontario, who will spend the next few months, it weighs the issue in question. The Ontario and federal governments are trying to overturn a lower court decision in which a judge revoked three laws against prostitution, saying that forcing people into the sex trade to choose between obeying the law and stay safe.
The Ontario Court of Appeal heard arguments from lawyers for the whole week for governments, commercial sex workers and seven intervention groups, such as the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the Christian Legal Movement.
Whatever the Court of Appeal decided, it is expected that her sentence will be appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada. One of the judges joked this week that she and her colleagues were just a bump in the road.
But with such a critical issue at stake – the sex workers say it is a matter of life or death for them – the judges are expected for several months before releasing a decision.
Alan Young, the lawyer who represents sex workers in this appeal, the hopes of the Supreme Court sided with the original sentence, so it falls to Parliament to draft new legislation that is consistent with the Charter.
But he said he is not sure that will happen under the government of Stephen Harper.
Commercial sex workers, they say the laws prevent them from working on the inside, where it is safer, taking time to talk to a potential customer to assess the risk involved and hiring bodyguards.
A group of former sex workers and victims of trafficking who are not directly involved in the case were in court Friday as the audience involved to express their opposition to the stance taken by young sex workers is.
If the laws were removed from the books that would help only a small percentage of workers in the sex trade.
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