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Baroness V

Supreme Court of Canada Rules on Prostitution

Some quick background:

From the very beginning of Confederation prostitution has been legal in Canada.

While the exchange of sex for money between consenting adults is legal, most of the things that would make it safer for the women is illegal:

Operating a Brothel. Operating a premises where prostitution occurs is illegal, so a sex worker is forced to go to unknown hotel rooms or clients places to provide services.

Just being in a brothel is actually illegal, for the guys and ladies.

Procuring, which is arranging a sex act between a prostitute and a customer. This can include operating a prostitution business or even transporting a prostitute to a client. This means a sex worker cannot hire a bodyguard or driver for safety.

Soliciting: It is illegal for a prostitute to negotiate anything in public. (for example, giving a price to a guy in a car... Cars are public space if they can be seen). Prostitution is legal when arranged by phone, internet or Email. (but the above rules still apply)

The laws have been challenged many times over the years on the basis it creates significant harm to sex workers, but has always been upheld. The law was recently challenged again by 3 women: Terri-Jean Bedrod, Amy Lebovich, and Valerie Scott.

On September 28, 2012 the superior court of Justice issued it's decision: Most of the laws were struck down, but the government was given a temporary stay to launch an appeal.

On March 25th, 2012 the court of appeal struck down the bawdy house section of the criminal code. It also amended the provision dealing with pimping to only include those situations that involve circumstances of exploitation (human trafficking for instance).

Public Communication however was upheld as illegal.

The Crown immediately appealed the decision, and the Supreme Court granted a stay on the decision until they can hear the appeal. It is tentatively scheduled for June 12, 2013.

Stay Tuned!