March 27, 2012 by staff
Ontario Prostitution, Street-based sex workers who are still forced by desperation to jump into cars with strangers will get no help from the Ontario top court ruling Monday.
Although the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled Monday that not allowing safe indoor brothels is a violation of sex workers’ constitutional rights, the five judges still upheld laws against street “soliciting” or “communicating.”
What that means, sex worker advocates agreed, is that the survival sex trade workers in Vancouver – those targeted by serial killer Robert Pickton and hundreds of other predators – still will be working in fear for their lives.
The Ontario court ruled sex workers can still be prosecuted for “soliciting.”
“We’re very disappointed with the result on the communicating laws, and we hope that (the decision) will shift on appeal” to Canada’s highest court, said Pivot Legal Society lawyer Katrina Pacey, an intervenor in the Ontario case.
Although the Ontario case has direct application to that province, it will affect B.C. and is expected to eventually go to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Pacey noted that women who work in the Downtown Eastside sex trade are also battling drug addiction, homelessnes, poverty and mental illness – all factors that contribute to their vulnerability in accepting any client who can pay.
Even Pickton, who preyed on DTES sex workers for decades and lured them to his Port Coquitlam farm, where he claimed to have killed 49 women, did not turn up on “bad date” sheets because he always paid in cash, booze and drugs.
Pacey said PIVOT is pleased that the Ontario Court ruling declared the law against brothels to be unconstitutional.
The court ruled that brothels and indoor sex workers should be able to hire security, drivers and other employees without facing charges of living off the avails of prostitution.
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