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Canada’s Supreme Court strikes down anti-prostitution laws




Terri Jean Bedford speaks to prostitution supporters and reporters at the Canadian Supreme Court in Ottawa on June 13, 2013. The court heard arguments for effectively legalizing prostitution, after a lower court quashed portions of a law banning brothels and living off the avails of prostitution.
Terri Jean Bedford speaks to prostitution supporters and reporters at the Canadian Supreme Court in Ottawa on June 13, 2013. The court heard arguments for effectively legalizing prostitution, after a lower court quashed portions of a law banning brothels and living off the avails of prostitution.
AFP/Michel Comte/Getty Images

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Canada’s Supreme Court unanimously voted to strike down a ban on three laws against prostitution, including bans on brothels and street solicitation.

The December 20th decision ruled that the legislation denied prostitutes their guaranteed rights to safety. Prostitution was already legal in Canada, but laws preventing its practice were deemed “overly broad,” and went beyond protecting communities.

Though laws against profiting from a prostitute’s income were aimed at criminalizing pimping, Friday’s decision argues that they unjustly targeted bodyguards, drivers, and security who keep sex workers safe.

How should the law protect sex workers and those who profit from their business? Is it fair to criminalize acts that profit from or enable sex trade? How will this ruling impact Canadian sex workers and Canadian communities?

Guest:

Sean Fine, reporter for The Globe and Mail in Canada that covers the Supreme Court of Canada and other legal issues