Canada's sex laws challenged in court today

Amie - posted on 10/06/2009 ( 17 moms have responded )

6,596

20

412

http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/st...

The laws that control prostitution in Canada are on trial today in a Toronto courtroom, as two prostitutes and a dominatrix challenge the laws that they say make no sense.

Alan Young, the Osgoode Hall law professor representing the women, says his clients can't understand why prostitution itself is not directly prohibited, and yet all incidental transactions involved in prostitution are.

Young is arguing in Ontario Superior Court that the Criminal Code sections that prohibit "communication for the purpose of prostitution," "living on the avails of prostitution," or "running or occupying a bawdy house" make plying a legal trade legally near to impossible.

"The objective of communication laws is to get prostitutes off the streets, but when you go to move inside, the law that tells you that's a 'bawdy house' that brings more severe legal sanction. When you then go to somebody and say 'Help me and be my driver, make my life more secure,' that becomes a pimping charge called 'living off the avails.' So selling sex is legal but you can't do it in any safe way because the law gives you no safe, legal option. That's the problem," he told CTV News Channel Tuesday afternoon

He says with the way the law stands, prostitutes can't ask the questions need to screen potential clients, can't work in brothels, and can't have anyone protect them. That leaves sex workers vulnerable and forced to work on the streets.

"There are dangers working on the street. (The law) has contributed to the lack of safety and harm women face," he told reporters outside the Toronto courthouse where the case is being heard.

The Crown is expected to argue that decriminalizing prostitution could cause women to view it as "a career choice," make Canada a haven for sex tourism, and perhaps lead to the "red-light districts" across the country.

They also plan to argue that prostitution is inherently degrading, dangerous and unhealthy, and should not be encouraged by lax laws.

"The Charter does not mandate Parliament to design a regime allowing the applicants to earn money by engaging in prostitution with fewer hindrances," federal prosecutor Michael Morris said in a legal brief.

Prostitute Val Scott told reporters Tuesday that current laws ignore the reality on the streets.

"It is legal to sell sex," she said. "Those in opposition have a displaced sense of morality. It is time for Canada to get over it."

Young, too, disagrees with those who argue prostitution is inherently unhealthy and unsafe.

"That's not an empirically sound statement; that's an expression of disgust," he told CTV.

"Obviously, it is safe when conducted indoors; international studies in legalized jurisdictions have shown that. So it's common sense to say it's safer to move indoors," he said.

The three women launching the charter are Lauren Casey, a former prostitute in Victoria, B.C., sex worker Amy Lebovitch, and former dominatrix Terri Jean "Madame deSade" Bedford, whose infamous "bondage bungalow" in Thornhill was raided in 1994.

The three women want the Court to strike down all the Criminal Code sections pertaining to solicitation, to effectively decriminalize prostitution.

They argue that restrictions on their sex work activities are a violation of their rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to security of the person and freedom of expression.

While attempts have been made over the years to strike down parts of the prostitution laws, this challenge, which has been two years in the making, is the first in two decades to aim for a broad sweep of all the provisions.

Justice Susan Himel, who is hearing the challenge, will need to assess whether Canada's laws are "proportionate" to their purpose of protecting the public good, or whether they force prostitutes into unsafe situations.

Evidence in the case is expected to consist mostly of affidavits from 56 individuals, including sex workers, police officers, academics and NDP MP Libby Davies, whose Vancouver riding includes the Lower East Side.

The Catholic Civil Rights League of Canada, Christian Legal Fellowship and REAL Women of Canada, have been granted intervenor status in the case and will present their perspective on the issues before the court as well.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I read the article. Kind of agree with it. I'd like to hear from the people in other countries who have decriminalized/legalized it. I know Aussie has! =)

That being said. I do think it could be a good idea. The porn industry is booming, they go through regular testing to ensure they are clean, what's wrong with testing and making sure the sex workers are clean too? Red light districts are a good idea. You know which area it's in, you know to avoid it if you are appalled by the idea.

It's a much better idea than what my current city is doing. They keep trying to round them up but the workers just pick up and move to a different part of the city. So it's nothing but a continual cat and mouse chase. Innocent families and children are then subjected to it because it's not regulated and confined to certain areas. The old area which we used to live in is now over run with prostitutes because of this cat and mouse game. It's hard on the families there because of the increased activity so the parents are keeping their children indoors, great way to battle that obesity issue everyone's concerned about.

All that aside though it is still a good idea. Just because it's morally reprehensible to you these girls are in a trade that has been around for quite some time. To you it may not be a job, to some it is, to others it's a way to get their crack fix.

I also read the comments on the article, I found the most hilarious one to be, It's degrading to women. How? Seriously tell me how what another woman does is degrading to me. When it comes to situations like this what other people do has no bearing on my life.

Also if it becomes full illegal it won't solve anything. They'll still do what they are doing right now!

Regulate it, tax it, make it safe.

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Jenny - posted on 10/07/2009

4,426

16

129

Quoting Jo:

If you're gonna regulate and tax it to make it safer - brothels for example - they will be run like any other business - pros should be offered sex ed courses, testing on a regular basis - HIV & STD. Girls that are on the street they get severe penalities, kinda like working without a business license right?

These girls should have to be under the similar laws and regulations of every other business. And in every other business they need to be held accountable for their actions. As well as taxed. If we can get it so that whores are 'in certain places' like have to work in a brothel - we can make it so that the owner of the brothels have mandatory testing, mandatory sex ed (by sex ed I mean both sex and disease education) and it will be easier to address these womens issues - whether its emotional or financial or whatever.

Why should we set it up for these women to be safer so that they can continue to be destructive? I think we need to set it up for these women to be safer while they are provided the help they need to be productive.

There are places for junkies to go to get clean needles so they can get high, but there's very few places for whores to go to get support - let alone the education they don't think they can get. It's all about educating these women. They are told over and over that they can't do it, that there's no way to do it, no one wants to hire a whore. But they're never pointed in the RIGHT direction - and even when they are pointed in the right direction they still need a support structure that they don't have...

There's rehab for junkies, there's nothin really like that for whores UNLESS they're junkies too.

Still rambling. It's been too long of a day lol



These are exactly the sorts of things Canadian sex workers are requesting in this lawsuit. They want to be in a safe envirnoment such as a brothel. They want STD testing, for themselves and for the customers. They want to be taxed and able to contribute to the same social programs as any other employed Canadian. Prostitution is already legal here, time to get rid of all these archaic rules and bring the profession into modern times.



A few quotes from a recent news story that stood out to me http://www.canada.com/news/Prostitution+...#:





The three applicants — a dominatrix, a former sex-trade worker and a working prostitute — are asking a judge to invalidate three provisions that make it illegal to: run a bawdy house; communicate for the purposes of prostitution, which critics say results in women making snap decisions about clients; and live off the avails of prostitution.







While designed to prevent the exploitation of women, the provision against living off the avails fails to reflect the fact that most prostitutes are independent operators. Its breadth makes it illegal for sex-trade workers to hire managers, drivers and security to protect them, forcing them to turn to a black market, Young said. It also exposes people who live with them to criminal prosecution, all of which, he argues, renders the legislation too thin.



Jeannette - posted on 10/07/2009

911

3

78

You know, I told my husband what we are talking about (he is an inquiring mind) he was on the debate team in H.S. He wrote up a proposal suggesting all the things we've talked about including, and I'm pretty sure you mentioned this earlier, putting a percentage of the money towards education so the women involved can find a way out of the profession. The business should have the position to legitimately turn away drunks or druggies (who could become abusive) and anyone who would not comply with using a condom. I think the johns should HAVE to wear condoms to protect everyone. Including the john's wife (in the cases of the married ones).

?? - posted on 10/07/2009

4,974

0

172

I think it should be legal too - I just think there are many other things that need to be addressed because making it legal and "making it safer" doesn't make it a good thing or acceptable or something that we shouldn't at least try to stop as much as possible (no I am not naive enough to think that it will ever go away - but we can try).



Prostitution - selling your body to make money - is not a healthy productive lifestyle and there are is just way more bad than good about being a whore.



Like for example - marijuana making it legal & prostitution making it legal. I think they should both be legal but that doesn't mean that they're things I would want to promote, support or be ok with my child doing. But smoking weed isn't the same as having sex for money.



There are underlying issues for most women who choose to be whores. The underlying issues need to be addressed otherwise it doesn't matter how safe you make the 'profession' it's not a profession that, I think, should be "acceptable," it's not a profession that I think we should just assume it's always going to be there and there's nothing we can do to stop it.



We may not be able to stop it but if we're going to make it legal we need to accept the crap that comes with someone making the choice to be a whore, address it and at least set up something to help these women who feel the only thing they can do in life is spread their legs...

Amie - posted on 10/07/2009

6,596

20

412

I don't mean make one aspect safer. It's all about the right legislation.

Only certain aspects are designated for this function. (red light districts if you will)
Workers must be tested at least once a year, they are pulled off their job if they test positive until a time it's determined if it's a real positive or false positive.
They must be clean and sober to be employed.
Jail time, not fines, for people who do not follow the laws.

It would take time to work out all the kinks. It does with any new laws passed. But in the long run I do think it would be beneficial.

Amie - posted on 10/07/2009

6,596

20

412

Jo I get what your saying but the way I look at it is this.

The porn industry is legal. It is not much different than what prostitutes do except for the fact that both people involved are getting paid. For making videos, photographs, going online live, etc. They can have sex, legally, safely and for profit. They choose their profession.

Just because a woman may choose prostitute as a profession does not mean it is a bad thing. Yes there are plenty of people who waste their natural born intelligence every day but it is not just people who are strippers or prostitutes.

You can't really argue the money aspect either because any one who goes to school to better themselves and gets a great education is in it for the money as well. They are just doing it in a way that is legal at the moment whereas prostitution is not. It is the ultimate goal for any person to make a decent to overwhelming income. If it wasn't then why would any one get up and go to work every morning? It doesn't matter the motive behind why they want the money, money is still the driver.

The opportunities are already there for anyone to get the education they want. If they choose to partake in them. If they choose not to that is there own downfall. I was basically a single mother, I worked, I got grants and a small loan to go to school while taking care of my child. Some people do not have the drive and want to take the easy way out. Let them, make it safe for them, then it's one less thing I have to worry about encountering on my street corner one day because of the failing grade I give the PD for trying to control it.

This conversation has been closed to further comments

17 Comments

View replies by

?? - posted on 10/08/2009

4,974

0

172

There's a lot of whores that work off the streets, I don't see ALL prostitutes being able to have a brothel or bawdy house or whatever to be able to work in, I also don't see the junkie whores being able to afford/keep up with/accept laws and regulations on their prostituting. I don't think the women who are (for example) dominatrixes and escort service pros are taking into account the girls who are whoring themselves to survive on the street...



I'm not against legalisizing prostitution... I'm hoping that with the modification of laws, comes a modification in the views of the problems as well and something implimented that is mandatory.



I'm sorry but being a whore isn't a business trade, like welding or carpentry and it shouldn't be made "acceptable." It just sends the wrong message..... "Can't make it in the real world???????? That's ok, become a whore!!! It's safer now." lol

?? - posted on 10/07/2009

4,974

0

172

If you're gonna regulate and tax it to make it safer - brothels for example - they will be run like any other business - pros should be offered sex ed courses, testing on a regular basis - HIV & STD. Girls that are on the street they get severe penalities, kinda like working without a business license right?



These girls should have to be under the similar laws and regulations of every other business. And in every other business they need to be held accountable for their actions. As well as taxed. If we can get it so that whores are 'in certain places' like have to work in a brothel - we can make it so that the owner of the brothels have mandatory testing, mandatory sex ed (by sex ed I mean both sex and disease education) and it will be easier to address these womens issues - whether its emotional or financial or whatever.



Why should we set it up for these women to be safer so that they can continue to be destructive? I think we need to set it up for these women to be safer while they are provided the help they need to be productive.



There are places for junkies to go to get clean needles so they can get high, but there's very few places for whores to go to get support - let alone the education they don't think they can get. It's all about educating these women. They are told over and over that they can't do it, that there's no way to do it, no one wants to hire a whore. But they're never pointed in the RIGHT direction - and even when they are pointed in the right direction they still need a support structure that they don't have...



There's rehab for junkies, there's nothin really like that for whores UNLESS they're junkies too.



Still rambling. It's been too long of a day lol

Jeannette - posted on 10/07/2009

911

3

78

Quoting Jo:

I think it should be legal too - I just think there are many other things that need to be addressed because making it legal and "making it safer" doesn't make it a good thing or acceptable or something that we shouldn't at least try to stop as much as possible (no I am not naive enough to think that it will ever go away - but we can try).

Prostitution - selling your body to make money - is not a healthy productive lifestyle and there are is just way more bad than good about being a whore.

Like for example - marijuana making it legal & prostitution making it legal. I think they should both be legal but that doesn't mean that they're things I would want to promote, support or be ok with my child doing. But smoking weed isn't the same as having sex for money.

There are underlying issues for most women who choose to be whores. The underlying issues need to be addressed otherwise it doesn't matter how safe you make the 'profession' it's not a profession that, I think, should be "acceptable," it's not a profession that I think we should just assume it's always going to be there and there's nothing we can do to stop it.

We may not be able to stop it but if we're going to make it legal we need to accept the crap that comes with someone making the choice to be a whore, address it and at least set up something to help these women who feel the only thing they can do in life is spread their legs...


umkay...I understand everything that you are saying...so are we to set up counseling centers (or educational clinics if you prefer) to counsel/educate a person before they become a prostitute, or starts on marijuana?  For instance, yeah, you can work as a prostitute, but only after you finish this course?  Or you can buy marijuana here, but read this pamphlet and take this test first? 



I don't think more education is a bad thing...ever...however, I think people have varying degrees of self loathing and  people have different reasons/needs for making their choices. 



I totally understand your concerns, I feel that way about my daughters, not that I'd be okay with them going to a class for prostitution or anything remotely like that...

Jeannette - posted on 10/07/2009

911

3

78

Just so everyone knows...I have never been a prostitute...I don't know if I made that clear, though I did go through a period of self loathing, I never got paid for sex.
I still think it should be legal Jo. I understand everything you are saying, and I agree with most of your points, however, locking people up for having sex is crazy to me.

?? - posted on 10/07/2009

4,974

0

172

I would hope so, it would suck ass if they did all the changes and then lady execs start leaving their jobs to be whores lol taxing it would be difficult, what's a set rate for a whore these days? I don't know, I don't know anyone to ask to find out either. Who gets to decide if some trampy dirty old whore is worth the same amount as 'fresh meat'? lol $9/hr with benefits? HAHAHA wouldn't that be funny...



LOTS of kinks (good word lol) to iron out :P

?? - posted on 10/07/2009

4,974

0

172

I'm not disagree'ing that we shouldn't make it safer lol I'm just saying that it's really not gonna do all that much - at least I don't think it will - the pros and cons are about even. You make this part safer - but you leave this part open. You make that part safer - but you leave this part open. Usually when you try to make something safer - like in Ryans job - you don't leave open other avenues of danger or open another door to danger by making 1 part safer.



With prostitution though... you're not really closing the door of being unsafe, you're just moving it over to the left a lil so that you can install another door beside it that can open and close.



If that makes any sense lol I'm goin on no sleep here - I know what I'm tryin to say but words are being elusive today. Maybe after naptime my brain will function a lil better.

Amie - posted on 10/07/2009

6,596

20

412

There are always factors though that can make any job dangerous. It's about making it as safe as possible. Just because it's legal though I don't think more will be hoping on the whore train. Most have more self respect than that. Some really just don't care. So for them and the ones who do visit them, make it as safe as possible.

Ryan's job for example. His is dangerous, he gets paid danger pay, they have all the necessary safe guards in place to make it as safe as humanly possible. It's not 100% safe though, it never will be. A lot of guys get into his industry the same way he did. They apply fresh out of high school for the quick buck, that is far more substantial than what prostitutes get. They start at the bottom and work their way up. Ryan is now applying for apprenticeships through his company because they pay for him to do this and it will mean an even bigger pay bump.

It's not a direct correlation but it is an example that there are other ways to make quick great incomes without laying on your back.

There are many avenues for women to be educated, at school. At home society can only do so much because a parent(s) have a huge influence on a person's life. Some over come their terrible lives, others do not. My own mother is a survivor of a terrible up bringing. She went on to become an educated, productive person in society. It can be done. It's all there already. Most people don't look hard enough for the opportunities though or just give up for one reason or another. That is their choice to make, just as it is their choice to become a prostitute, we can't dictate what other people do with their own bodies. If they want to, they will, just make it safer than it is now and stop having innocent families and children who don't want or need to witness it on their local street corner.

?? - posted on 10/07/2009

4,974

0

172

There was a prostitution thread awhile ago and my only post in it was that prostitution does have a legal venue, it's called the porn industry. And even the porn industry isn't safe - despite all the testing, regulations, etc that every participant must go through, there was a recent 'outbreak' of HIV positive pornstars.



By the money aspect I meant the quick money - it takes nothing to lay on your back and spread em. It's the quick buck.



But it doesn't matter how safe you make prostitution there is always the factor that the JOHNS don't have to be tested, go through anger management, etc. STD's HIV diseases are rampant through our lives and even if the women have a safe house to whore at, have a bodygaurd to make sure they are protected, use condoms, are on the pill, and get tested regularly - we all know condoms break and that some douche is gonna pay more for no condom and the Johns don't need to tested so STD's are still a major issue and it only takes one quick jerk to break someone's neck (as an example).



And what I mean by more education, more opportunities, more support is young girls need to be taught self respect, self confidence. We all know support systems at home and in school are a huge factor in whether a girl becomes a confident woman or a self loathing social outcast. There are too many young girls told they are worth nothing more than their vagina, tits and how many boys wanna see, touch, feel and be in them.



I honestly think "making it safe" will make more girls become whores, will make more girls go to the quick buck, and make disease and STD's even more rampant because these girls don't have to go to a specific place to go - it's not like all the whores are going to go to designated "safe houses" or brothels in order to do their business. They'll still do it whenever and where ever just now it won't be illegal for them to do it. And really who cares if it is illegal - they can claim duh they didn't know it HAD to be done in a brothel - get a slap on the wrist and whatever, they would be doing it illegally anyways if the law hadn't changed so it's not like it's much different lol



rambling now - cranky baby - it's a good idea but I don't know how well it will pan out in the long run - pros & cons seem about even to me.

?? - posted on 10/06/2009

4,974

0

172

My sister asked me a "joke" the other day...



If you force yourself on a hooker is it rape or is it shoplifting?



Tim Slagle has a pretty funny view on prostitution - "Isn't the ultimate definition of OWNING something is whether you can sell it or not? You do not own your vagina because legally, you can not sell it. Abortion is alright but your vagina belongs to the state."



I think the 'issue' with make it safe means that that's 1 more push for all the dangerous things in life (ex: drugs) that people are going to do regardless of whether it's legal or not. If they will make it "safe" for hookers, they should make it "safe" for drug addicts. They're both destructive behaviors and actions, they both have a pathetic reasoning and outcome. (money & the high)



I think there are bigger issues to be dealt with before legalizing prostitution will really matter. Sure make it legal and make it safe - but give young women more opportunity with more education and more support.



Stripping and prostitution = easy money. Why do something the hard way if you can do it the easy way? Those occupations will always be there because there are always people lookin for an easy buck. I've been a dancer, I have NEVER exchanged sex for money. I fired girls that did, I fired girls that didn't but exchanged dancing for drugs. I also fired girls because I KNOW they had a brain and would continue to dance instead of use their brain.



BUT with those girls, I gave them support and means to help them use their brains. I didn't just fire em and hope they did it - I did a trade off - free babysitting for example if she went to classes - I also set her up in an apartment with a friend of mine who was pretty well off and didn't want anything but her to buy groceries. She got a job at subway part time, went to school, and is now a pharmacist.





Women need education, support and help - and there's nothing wrong with that - they just need to be taught that there's nothing wrong with needing that at a younger age. Too many women are told they are WEAK and PATHETIC if they can't support themselves. Then they are led down the weak and pathetic roads they choose.



I'm rambling now........ but education BEFORE stripping and whoring even become an idea, let alone a realistic possibility.

[deleted account]

While it may not be what I would choose for a profession, I don't see why the law should tell some other woman she can't have sex for money. It all goes back to people having the choice to do what they want with their bodies-to drink alcohol, smoke a cigarette, smoke some pot, and yes, have sex for money. Because what they're doing isn't dangerous to someone else and doesn't infringe on someone else's rights (provided there are regulations in place to maintain safety industry-wise, as in the porn industry, and so long as there are regulations about where the houses can be-like not right beside a school), I don't think it should be illegal.

Jeannette - posted on 10/06/2009

911

3

78

Side note: I know a couple of girls who were strippers, to get through school, who ended up having sex for money as well, again for an education. I think it is sad that women feel they have to sell their bodies to get an education. Someone actually suggested I do it when I was single, a mom, and going to school...but I was so stupid - I gave it away for free! lol! jk kinda

I would never let either of my daughters do this...I'll work 2 jobs to help them!

Jeannette - posted on 10/06/2009

911

3

78

I personally don't care if prostitution is legal. With that said, I would want them to work in areas that are not neighborhoods, around schools, grocery stores, and the like. Keep 'em downtown or something...or having houses (away from mine lol!) in areas where people can go to a place to make these transactions would be fine.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms