Canada high court to review anti-prostitution laws

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Canada [official website] agreed Thursday to review a B.C. Court of Appeal [official website] decision allowing a challenge to the country's anti-prostitution laws. The appeals court had set aside a lower court ruling [judgments] denying standing to Sheryl Kiselbach, a former sex worker in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, and the federal attorney general appealed. Kiselbach filed the challenge in 2007, along with Downtown Eastside Sex Workers United Against Violence in Society. Kiselbach's lawyer contends that denying standing would erase 30 years of abuse and prosecution [CP report] suffered by Kiselbach, who allegedly left the sex trade to overhaul Canada's anti-prostitution laws.

In September, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice [official website] struck down several provisions of Canada's anti-prostitution laws, citing the danger they generate for sex workers, but a stay was issued [JURIST reports] pending appeal. That suit was also launched in 2007 by the Sex Professionals of Canada [advocacy website] challenging three provisions [JURIST report] of the Canadian Criminal Code [text] as inconsistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom [text]. While prostitution itself is not illegal in Canada, § 210, § 212 and § 213 of the Criminal Code prohibits the keeping of "common bawdy houses," engaging in communications for the purpose of soliciting sex and living "on the avails" of the sex trade.

 

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