Supreme Court Protects Prostitutes…Next Year
The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled on Canada’s prostitution laws, finding that they put sex workers in peril:
The Supreme Court of Canada has struck down the country’s major prostitution laws, saying that bans on street soliciting, brothels and people living off the avails of prostitution are arbitrary and create severe dangers for vulnerable women.
Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, writing for a unanimous court, stressed that the ruling is not about whether prostitution should be legal or not, but about whether Parliament’s means of controlling it infringe the constitutional rights of prostitutes.
“The prohibitions all heighten the risks,” she said. “They do not merely impose conditions on how prostitutes operate. They go a critical step further, by imposing dangerous conditions on prostitution; they prevent people engaged in a risky — but legal — activity from taking steps to protect themselves from the risks.”
While it is great that the Supreme Court has decided to afford basic constitutional protections to sex workers (not to mention a touch of human dignity), it is quite said that this ruling will go into effect in a year. I get that they are giving the government time to adjust to this ruling, but one year is a ridiculously long time. It demonstrates that sex workers still aren’t considered quite as worthy as the rest of us.
No doubt, more will be said of this in the coming hours, days and weeks.