Sex workers in the midst of constitutional lawsuits

11 07 2009

Sex workers in Vancouver are challenging Canada’s solicitation laws in different ways but with a common desire—to work and live with greater dignity.

On October 6, 2009, the Ontario Superior Court is scheduled to hear what’s become of this on-going constitutional challenge that has the aim to strike down three sections of the Criminal Code. These include:

  • prohibitions on keeping a bawdy house,
  • living on the avails of prostitution, and
  • communicating for the purposes of prostitution.

According to Alan Young who’s leading the challenge there: “Bringing this case is of utmost importance because, despite the fact that prostitution is a legal occupation, the current Criminal Code provisions operate to deny sex workers safe legal options for conducting their legal business. Ultimately this fight is destined to go all the way to the Supreme Court.”

The objective is not legalization rather decriminalization. Decriminalization is commonly confused with legalization, but there are key differences. Legalization is viewed as a potentially overbearing state overseeing and regulating sex workers. While decriminalization would simply remove specific sections of the criminal code from the law books.

The bottom line is that sex workers and their advocates want to ensure that sex workers are no longer a segregated labour class having to work under inhumane conditions and on the wrong side of the law.

Credits & article by: Diane Walsh.  Read more here