Prostitution Legal In Toronto?

Isobel - posted on 09/29/2010 ( 19 moms have responded )




Former prostitute 'shocked' by Ont. court decision News Staff

A former sex-trade worker who now helps prostitutes trying to leave the trade, says an Ontario court's decision to strike down Canada's laws surrounding prostitution was a terrible move.

Natasha Falle, who runs StreetLight, a non-profit organization that provides support services for sex workers, and works with the Toronto Police's Sex Crimes Unit, says she was "shocked" by Tuesday's court decision to strike down three provisions of the Criminal Code surrounding prostitution.

"It was very disappointing for me that a judge would determine that this is the best solution for protecting people in the sex trade industry," Falle told CTV's Canada AM Wednesday morning.

The laws prohibited communicating for the purposes of prostitution, keeping a common bawdy house, and living on the avails of the trade.

Justice Susan Himel wrote her in 131-page decision that the laws, "individually and together, force prostitutes to choose between their liberty interest and their right to security of the person as protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms."

Those who wanted the laws to be quashed say they forced hookers to work the streets, instead of in the safety of their homes. But Falle says decriminalizing all aspects of prostitution is not the solution.

"I don't think Canadians understand what this means. This means, if this decision is to carry through… your next door neighbours can run a brothel right beside you. Your children could be exposed to condoms left on their driveway, johns propositioning them," she said.

Falle also worries that by normalizing prostitution, it gives children the idea that prostitution is a good and acceptable way to make a living.

"Thirteen to 16 years old is the average age that someone enters prostitution. So when do we start referring to them as sex workers?" she said.

Ron Marzel, one of the lawyers for the women who challenged the laws, says he was "thrilled" with Tuesday's decision which he says will protect for sex workers, who should have the right to practice their profession safely.

"Certainly, we need social programs to make sure that children in the profession; however,the reality is there are consenting adults who want to go into this profession," he said on Canada AM.

Falle grew incensed at this, insisting that 97 per cent of prostitutes aren't in the sex trade by choice. She says the voices of the overwhelming majority of women who want to get out of prostitution are being drowned out by a vocal few.

"The voices we are hearing right now are the minority voices and they are only strong because of circumstances in Ontario. All the other provinces are not on board with this."

Tuesday's decision is subject to a 30-day stay during which the laws remain in place; the federal government can seek an extension of that period.

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty said Wednesday that he would be surprised if the federal government did not appeal the ruling.

McGuinty says the ruling proposes some profound changes to laws that have been on the books for decades, and Ontario "looks forward" to supporting the federal Conservatives in the expected appeal.

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson signalled last night that the Conservatives are seriously considering an appeal. He said Ottawa would "fight to ensure that the criminal law continues to address the significant harms that flow from prostitution to both communities and the prostitutes themselves."


Indeed, Living off the avails, and Running a Bawdy House are now legal in Toronto. Do you think this is a positive step for women's rights? or do you think that it will increase demand?

Do you think that Sex Trade workers are ever "really" doing it of their own free will (meaning that if they had ANY other choice they would still choose to)? Do these laws make it easier for the pimps who exploit these women to keep them enslaved while making money off the women's backs?


I used to think I knew where I stood on this issue...I'm not quite so sure anymore.


Jenny - posted on 09/29/2010




It's pretty black and white for me. Let's keep women safe.

Prostitution can be punishable by death and there are still women selling their bodies.

Let's make bawdy house laws similar to running a nightclub. IE: No gang affiliations or you lose your license.

It is an effective law. My partner and I were at a Dirty 30 moustache party last year. We were walking home from the bar and passed in front of a known affiliated club. A douche leaving the club punched my partner in the face. No words exchanged, no reason, right beside 2 bouncers who didn't move an inch. Just walking by with an awesome moustache. Anyhoo, their license was pulled a few weeks ago because a co-owner was HA.

So we could enfore similar rules with the prostitution business. Actually we already do, but call them escort businesses. I have one 1/2 block from my house and if I hadn't heard from someone who knows someone, I never would have even known.

JuLeah - posted on 09/29/2010




If we made it legal we might better protect wokers and buyers. Get the pimps out of the equation.
This has been around forever, we will not ever get rid of it. Let's figure out a way to keep women safe and girls in school where they belong.

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Heather - posted on 09/30/2010




Amsterdam has it right as far as I'm concerned. Make a district for it. Regulate it. Set an age limit. I think it would be a great way to reduce the sexual violence(and violence in general) in our society.

Meghan - posted on 09/30/2010




I wont even really get into the whole thing because I think I made my views clear the last time there was a post about legalizing prostitution. All I will say is finally there is someone who agrees with me lol!

Isobel - posted on 09/30/2010




Is it during Pride? cause then we could have all the American Gay guys getting married, and all the Straight people coming to get hookers...hahaha are also totally allowed to walk the streets topless here ;P

LaCi - posted on 09/30/2010




I'd totally buy a hooker. What an excellent 40th birthday present that could be for the boyfriend. *snookums, I got us a present* It would make up for his recent 30th birthday present. I should say, I know where I'm vacationing.

Isobel - posted on 09/30/2010




You've always dreamed of becoming a prostitute? or you looking to pay for one? ;P

I agree that the important thing is to keep them safe...that's why I wish they had spent more time on this and figured out the new laws that need to surround it rather than just leaving it with none for now. Like make it illegal to be a pimp or illegal for gangs to own "bawdy houses"...just SOMETHING

Tracey - posted on 09/30/2010




I have no problem with legal brothels, they are already being run as "massage parlours" so the only thing that would change would be more protection for the women.

Lisa - posted on 09/29/2010




Not sure on this issue I'm kinda on the fence too. I can't imagine why anyone would want to become a prostitute. I think drugs are at the root of most young girls getting into the "trade". Wish there was a way to get rid of the drugs and go from there, It all seems so sad. Then there is the H.I.V. issue, would many woman risk the chance of contracting a deadly disease just for money? I don't think very often but who knows right? Maybe if there were legal prostitutes addiction testing and councelling could be manditory allong with disease screening. Getting the Pimps out of the equasion would make it safer for the girls too. But, If "brothels" do become legal I would hope there would be certain area's away from children for them to set up shop.

Isobel - posted on 09/29/2010




From what I understand, they are still trying to appeal it...but for now, it is how it stands. :(

I have always thought that I believed it should be legalized because it is a woman's right to choose what she does with her own body. A friend of mine today, though, said that he doesn't believe that anybody ever "chooses" it, that in most cases they are forced, and even when they believe they are "choosing" prostitution, it is because they are so entirely broken...

and that legal prostitution just ups the demand which ups human trafficking...and all of a sudden I am up in the air because I DO know people who have slept with prostitutes in Amsterdam JUST because it was legal maybe he's right.

I must admit, I'm severely torn on this one.

Stifler's - posted on 09/29/2010




I know a woman who was an escort and she did it because it was better money than her uni degree and she enjoyed the sex and made up her own prices etc. I also read a book about male and female prostitutes that were doing it for their own sexual fulfillment and they had partners who knew about it and everything. It was very interesting and they didn't sound like evil people who left condoms in the driveway. I agree there are a lot of people who do it out of desperation or are forced to do it. There should be much more support available for them as they are doing it to make a living and often supporting a family and/or can't get out of it.

Amie - posted on 09/29/2010





"I have a different view because my younger sister who is almost 10 got into drugs very badly and she Prostitute her self to by drugs and to get anything else she may need."

Please tell me your sisters age is a typo. =/

Amie - posted on 09/29/2010




So are there talks about setting up laws to regulate it? Or were the laws just struck down and no thought given after that?

If there are laws regulating it (have to have a business license, can only operate away from certain areas [schools, etc. where kids are known to be a lot], all workers are drug and STD tested, standardized wage/salary with raises and benefits, no minors etc.) then I have no issue with it.

If they are not even thinking of regulations though, then I have issues. I honestly don't care if a woman chooses this as her profession. If it's not a choice because she needs to work off her debt to a drug dealer or something, then I care. Removing that aspect [drugs, pimps out for quick cash, etc.] of it could open it up to be a relatively safe and healthy job choice. Not one I'd advocate for my girls, I would rather they use their brains than bodies or beauty, but an adult is free to make their own choices.

[deleted account]

If it's going to be a legal job choice (for consenting adults, I don't advocate anybody under the age of 18 even THINKING about this), they should have a place to set up shop...not in a residential neighborhood...It gives me the creeps thinking about what if my kid was playing in the front yard and a client approached him. I would much prefer they set up some kind of support network for these women and put up some kind of STD control if a sex worker is HIV positive then they have to disclose that or no longer be a sex worker. I really hope this gets appealed though, as much as I can be quite the liberal...this doesn't sit well with me...

Janessa - posted on 09/29/2010




Very interesting artical with that being said. I have a different view because my younger sister who is almost 10 got into drugs very badly and she Prostitute her self to by drugs and to get anything else she may need. I think the laws need to go after the pimps and have programs to help those women it is very sad that some sick bastard can use someone like my sister who is a lost child. It seems that no one is for those lost women period majority of these women have a drug problem or mental problem like my sister. I think Prostitution should be illegal period those disgusting men who need sex and use women who need help should be the ones in jail with the pimp.

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