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Key Anti-Prostitution Laws Struck Down By Ontario Court


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#1 no vacancy

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 10:24 PM

didn't see a topic posted on this yet. probably not something harper is wanting to deal with right now.


http://www.cbc.ca/ca...ion-law028.html


Last Updated: Tuesday, September 28, 2010 | 10:26 PM ET


An Ontario court has thrown out key provisions of Canada's anti-prostitution laws in response to a constitutional challenge by a Toronto dominatrix and two prostitutes in 2009.

Ontario's Superior Court of Justice ruled Tuesday the Criminal Code provisions relating to prostitution contribute to the danger faced by sex-trade workers.

In her ruling, Justice Susan Himel said it now falls to Parliament to "fashion corrective action."

"It is my view that in the meantime these unconstitutional provisions should be of no force and effect, particularly given the seriousness of the charter violations," Himel wrote.

"However, I also recognize that a consequence of this decision may be that unlicensed brothels may be operated, and in a way that may not be in the public interest."

The judge suspended the effect of the decision for 30 days. It does not affect provisions dealing with people under 18.

Federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson and Rona Ambrose, minister for the status of women, both said the government is concerned about the decision and "is seriously considering an appeal."

Dominatrix Terri-Jean Bedford, Valerie Scott and Amy Lebovitch had argued that prohibitions on keeping a common bawdy house, communicating for the purposes of prostitution and living on the avails of the trade force them from the safety of their homes to face violence on the streets.

The women asked the court to declare legal restrictions on their activities a violation of charter rights of security of the person and freedom of expression.

The women and their lawyer, Alan Young, held a news conference Tuesday afternoon and expressed elation.

"It's like emancipation day for sex-trade workers," said Bedford, adding the ball is now in Prime Minister Stephen Harper's court. "The federal government must now take a stand and clarify what is legal and not legal between consenting adults in private."

Scott called it an amazing victory, saying the decision lessens the risk of violence for sex workers.

"We don't have to worry about being raped and robbed and murdered," she said. "This decision means that sex workers can now pick up the phone, and call the police and report a bad client. This means that we no longer have to be afraid, that we can work with the appropriate authorities."

Moreover, sex workers can set up guilds and associations, health standards, workers' compensation programs, as well as pay income tax. "We want to be good citizens and it's time, now we finally can," said Scott.

Young handled the case mostly free with the help of 20 of his law students. They were up against nearly a dozen government lawyers.

"Personally, I am overjoyed because this is a great David and Goliath story. Sex-trade workers are disenfranchised and disempowered, and no one has listened to them for 30, 40 years," Young said.


Ontario AG considers appeal


The case does not solve the problems related to prostitution, he said.

"That's for your government to take care. Courts just clean up bad laws."

"So what's happened is that there's still going to be many people on the streets and many survival sex workers who are motivated by drugs and sometimes exploited by very bad men. That's not going to change," Young added.

"Here's what changed. Women who have the ability, the wherewithal and the resources and the good judgment to know that moving indoors will protect them now have that legal option. They do not have to weigh their safety versus compliance with the law."

A spokesman for Ontario's attorney general said the office will be reviewing the decision carefully and will consult federal colleagues regarding a potential appeal.

"Ontario intervened and argued that the prostitution provisions of the Criminal Code are constitutional and valid and designed to prevent individuals, and particularly young people, from being drawn into prostitution, to protect our communities from the negative impacts of street prostitution and to ensure that those who control, coerce or abuse prostitutes are held accountable for their actions," said the statement from the Ontario attorney general's office.

The government had argued that striking down the provisions without enacting something else in their place would "pose a danger to the public."


'Shocking and horrific'


Some conservative groups such as REAL Women of Canada, which had intervener status in the case, argued that decriminalizing prostitution may make Canada a haven for human trafficking and that prostitution is harmful to the women involved in it.

While prostitution is technically legal, virtually every activity associated with it is not. The Criminal Code prohibits communication for the purpose of prostitution. It also prohibits keeping a common bawdy house for the purpose of prostitution.

Those laws enacted in 1985 were an attempt to deal with the public nuisance created by streetwalkers. They failed to recognize the alternative — allowing women to work more safely indoors — was prohibited.

The ban on bawdy houses is an indictable offence that carries stiffer sanctions, including jail time and potential forfeiture of a woman's home, while the ban on communication for prostitution purposes is usually a summary offence that at most leads to fines.

The provisions prevent sex-trade workers from properly screening clients, hiring security or working in the comfort and safety of their own homes or brothels, Young said.

Young cited statistics behind the "shocking and horrific" stories of women who work the streets, along with research that was not available when the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the communication ban in 1990.



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#2 LegitBread

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 11:21 PM

lets see how long this lasts...
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#3 Wetcoaster

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 12:33 AM

The Hutt decision in 1978 by the Supreme Court of Canada determined that a car was not a public place for the purposes of solicitation. That opened up the whole issue of street prostitution as it was virtually impossible for the police to get convictions until the Criminal Code was amended a number of years later.
http://scc.lexum.umo...78scr2-476.html

As noted in this link reporting the recent decision:

Although prostitution itself is not illegal in Canada, almost everything associated with it is, a situation that was once described as “bizarre” by a judge of the Supreme Court of Canada.

http://www.thespec.c...ostitution-laws

Madame Justice Susan Himel of the Ontario Superior Court today released her decision in the challenge to Canada's prostitution laws launched by sex trade worker Terri-Jean Bradford.

"By increasing the risk of harm to street prostitutes, the communicating law is simply too high a price to pay for the alleviation of social nuisance."

-- Madame Justice Susan Himel

Madame Justice Himel's ruling strikes down those sections of the Criminal Code:

* keeping a common bawdy house (s.210(1)), communication for the purposes of prostitution (s.213(1)©), and
* living on the avails of prostitution (s.212(1)(j)), all on the basis that the laws unnecessarily endanger prostitutes working on the street.

The Crown is moving for a stay of the ruling, to allow the law to stand until Parliament can address the situation with amendments to the Code.

http://wiselaw.blogs...ck-down-in.html

However in 1990 the Supreme Court of Canada rejected a similar (even narrower) challenge to the prostitution provisions of the Criminal Code. So it will likely be necessary for the SCC to overrule itself (which it has the power to do).

That case is cited as Reference re ss. 193 & 195.1(1)© of Criminal Code (Canada), (the Prostitution Reference), [1990] 1 S.C.R. 1123 is a leading decision of the Supreme Court of Canada on the right to freedom of expression under section 2(B) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and on prostitution in Canada. The Court held that the criminal code provision that prohibited communication for the purpose of engaging in prostitution was in violation of the right to freedom of expression however it could be justified under section 1 of the Charter and so it was upheld.

The majority found that the purpose of eliminating prostitution was a valid goal and that the provision was rationally connected and proportional to that goal. Accordingly, the provision was upheld.

This decision goes even further and would seem to be contrary to the 1990 ruling by the SCC.

It was in that 1990 SCC case that the following remarks were made:

I should like to point out at the outset something that may seem obvious to some, or which may come as a surprise to others, but which in any event needs to be kept in mind throughout: prostitution is not illegal in Canada. We find ourselves in an anomalous, some would say bizarre, situation where almost everything related to prostitution has been regulated by the criminal law except the transaction itself. The appellants' argument then, more precisely stated, is that in criminalizing so many activities surrounding the act itself, Parliament has made prostitution de facto illegal if not de jure illegal.

http://scc.lexum.umo...0scr1-1123.html

As noted Crown is seeking a stay of the effect of the decision.

Edited by Wetcoaster, 29 September 2010 - 12:34 AM.

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#4 Buggernut

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 04:05 AM

Meanwhile, we continue to turn a blind eye towards those who sleep around with their bosses and other powerful people for that raise or promotion, yet we stigmatize, criminalize and crucify those who apply their trade directly and openly on the street. (Both sex for money and exactly the same in principle.)

What a bunch of hypocrites we are. I think even Joe and Jane Yuppie who support these anti-prostitution laws have skeletons in their closet on this.

Here's an old discussion on the matter...

http://forum.canucks...orkplace-whores

Edited by Buggernut, 29 September 2010 - 04:07 AM.

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#5 Wolfman Jack

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 04:49 AM

Never did understand why it is illegal to sell something that is perfectly legal to give away for free. It's like street racing, you will never stop it, it is much more effective to work on controlling where it takes place.
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#6 Wetcoaster

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 08:40 AM

Never did understand why it is illegal to sell something that is perfectly legal to give away for free. It's like street racing, you will never stop it, it is much more effective to work on controlling where it takes place.

Prostitution per se is not illegal in Canada.
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#7 Shift-4

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 08:43 AM

Prostitution per se is not illegal in Canada.



I never understood how that worked. For example, we have 'escort' agencies in the yellow pages. We know what they are advertising for but it is still legitimate. :huh:
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#8 taxi

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 08:48 AM

I never understood how that worked. For example, we have 'escort' agencies in the yellow pages. We know what they are advertising for but it is still legitimate. :huh:


It's not illegal to prostitute yourself.

It is illegal to solicite(advertise), live off the avails (be a pimp), or run a bawdy house (whore house). Well at least it was until recently.

The escort agencies were always a grey area. Technically you are paying for "the date", and any sex you may agree to pay for later is a private arrangement between you and the woman and, in theory, has nothing to do with the escort agency.


Quite frankly repealing these laws is not going to help anyone. The women most at risk have always been the ones standing on shady street corners because of drugs, mental health, poor family life, etc.... Legalizing pimping and whore houses is not going to help these women.
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#9 Wetcoaster

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 08:50 AM

I never understood how that worked. For example, we have 'escort' agencies in the yellow pages. We know what they are advertising for but it is still legitimate. :huh:

If the act of prostitution was illegal then "escorts" would be unable to operate in Canada.
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#10 Shift-4

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 08:57 AM

Thanks guys

Now where did I put those yellow pages...

:ph34r:
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#11 lateralus

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 09:03 AM

It's not illegal to prostitute yourself.

It is illegal to solicite(advertise), live off the avails (be a pimp), or run a bawdy house (whore house). Well at least it was until recently.

The escort agencies were always a grey area. Technically you are paying for "the date", and any sex you may agree to pay for later is a private arrangement between you and the woman and, in theory, has nothing to do with the escort agency.


Quite frankly repealing these laws is not going to help anyone. The women most at risk have always been the ones standing on shady street corners because of drugs, mental health, poor family life, etc.... Legalizing pimping and whore houses is not going to help these women.

And the current laws are?
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#12 ronthecivil

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 09:06 AM

If the act of prostitution was illegal then "escorts" would be unable to operate in Canada.



Operationg @@@@ or get off the pot again eh?

Why the heck are our laws written in such round about ways instead of dealing with the problem at hand? Your either against prostitution or you think it should be legal.

That said, one would think a baudy house would violate zoning laws!!!

Seems pretty clear. Either outlaw it entirely, or legalise it and zone for places for it to happen.
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#13 taxi

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 09:27 AM

And the current laws are?


I don't think I ever said that. The issues of drug addiction, family abuse, mental health, violence against women, etc are huge.

Changing the laws around prostitution will not help any of these women.
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#14 Wolfman Jack

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 09:34 AM

I don't think I ever said that. The issues of drug addiction, family abuse, mental health, violence against women, etc are huge.

Changing the laws around prostitution will not help any of these women.

Driving it underground and into the shadows makes it worse, if prostitutes could openly practice their trade, it could make it easier to address these issues.
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#15 taxi

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 09:44 AM

Driving it underground and into the shadows makes it worse, if prostitutes could openly practice their trade, it could make it easier to address these issues.


It's not in the undergroun or the shadows. It's in fact perfectly legal as it is.

With the invention of the internet and sites like craigslist, I really don't think we need whorehouses anymroe either.

I've heard all this "in the shadows" stuff etc... a million times before. I just don't think changing laws is going to help desperate women on corners downtown. I think the only difference we will see is that escort agencies and craigslist adds will now explicitely advertise sex, whereas before they just advertised "dates".
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#16 ronthecivil

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 09:44 AM

Driving it underground and into the shadows makes it worse, if prostitutes could openly practice their trade, it could make it easier to address these issues.



Or it could turn us into a haven for sex tourism. Or a destination for people smuggling. There's cons to either way of going with it.
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#17 lateralus

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 10:19 AM

Or it could turn us into a haven for sex tourism. Or a destination for people smuggling. There's cons to either way of going with it.


Thank goodness we don't have that problem, eh....eh?
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#18 avelanch

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 10:29 AM

It's not in the undergroun or the shadows. It's in fact perfectly legal as it is.

With the invention of the internet and sites like craigslist, I really don't think we need whorehouses anymroe either.

I've heard all this "in the shadows" stuff etc... a million times before. I just don't think changing laws is going to help desperate women on corners downtown. I think the only difference we will see is that escort agencies and craigslist adds will now explicitely advertise sex, whereas before they just advertised "dates".

i'm sorry, but no it's not. And that's a very narrow minded view of the situation. the act itself is not legal, but every single action around it is. By saying the act of prostitution is legal, but living off of the profits from it is not already makes the act illegal. never mind not allowing it to happen in the same place twice or any of the other laws conveniently skirting around it. Everything about the profession is illegal except the the act itself. The reason pickton was so successful in his serial killing practices was because prostitution is, for all intents and purposes, illegal, so it is driven underground. Making it legitimately legal would allow for increased safety, and better access to support programs for the people involved. It would also help getting them off the street, clean, and potentially out of the industry altogether.
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#19 taxi

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 10:50 AM

i'm sorry, but no it's not. And that's a very narrow minded view of the situation. the act itself is not legal, but every single action around it is. By saying the act of prostitution is legal, but living off of the profits from it is not already makes the act illegal. never mind not allowing it to happen in the same place twice or any of the other laws conveniently skirting around it. Everything about the profession is illegal except the the act itself. The reason pickton was so successful in his serial killing practices was because prostitution is, for all intents and purposes, illegal, so it is driven underground. Making it legitimately legal would allow for increased safety, and better access to support programs for the people involved. It would also help getting them off the street, clean, and potentially out of the industry altogether.


Because I disagre with you I must be "narrow minded"....please. Your views are totally unrealistic and reflect the fact you know nothing of the people who are actually on the streets selling their bodies.


Pikton was successfull because he chose women that nobody cared about. Those women would continue to exist if whore-houses were made legal. No whore-house would hire a crack addict and those same drug addicts would continue to sell their bodies on shaddy corners. They would be no less at risk.

Currently, escort agencies operate and have circumvented the laws. Making them legal would just allow them to officially advertise. Once again, it would do nothing to help desperate women on the lower east side.
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#20 ronthecivil

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 11:11 AM

Thank goodness we don't have that problem, eh....eh?



It could result in a much more malicous kind of people smuggling.

I am simply saying all the pros and cons should be looked at and a better straightforward policy brought forward.
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#21 suolucidir

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 11:40 AM

It could result in a much more malicous kind of people smuggling.

I am simply saying all the pros and cons should be looked at and a better straightforward policy brought forward.


That seems like baseless speculation or fear mongering to me. How would it result in more malicious kind of people smuggling?

I definitely don't agree with prostitution as a practice, but criminalizing such acts doesn't really serve to protect anyone. You're criminalizing people who partake in these practices in order to deter people who have no interest in participating in the first place.
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#22 avelanch

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 11:42 AM

Because I disagre with you I must be "narrow minded"....please. Your viehttp://forum.canucks.com/index.php?app=forums&module=post&section=post&do=reply_post&f=4&t=287056&qpid=9011444ws are totally unrealistic and reflect the fact you know nothing of the people who are actually on the streets selling their bodies.


Pikton was successfull because he chose women that nobody cared about. Those women would continue to exist if whore-houses were made legal. No whore-house would hire a crack addict and those same drug addicts would continue to sell their bodies on shaddy corners. They would be no less at risk.

Currently, escort agencies operate and have circumvented the laws. Making them legal would just allow them to officially advertise. Once again, it would do nothing to help desperate women on the lower east side.

It would allow the women on the lower east side to organize (or someone to organize them) and would allow them to get off the street and into designated prostitution houses, which would have better security and would be safer for everyone involved.

Escort agencies haven't circumvented the law, they just pay enough to the government to not be prosecuted. Same with massage parlors (special licenses, but they can still be prosecuted, and you see it happening from time to time, usually when they fail to get/renew their license).
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#23 lateralus

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 11:43 AM

It could result in a much more malicous kind of people smuggling.

I am simply saying all the pros and cons should be looked at and a better straightforward policy brought forward.


I was just ribbing ya!

I think that more research should be looked at, other countries that have legalized it, or other forms of control - what is it like there, new problems etc.

Just like the war on drugs, the current laws and system just isn't working.

It's time we stop trying to fight these things and work out some sort of compromise or balance.
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#24 ronthecivil

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 11:48 AM

I was just ribbing ya!

I think that more research should be looked at, other countries that have legalized it, or other forms of control - what is it like there, new problems etc.

Just like the war on drugs, the current laws and system just isn't working.

It's time we stop trying to fight these things and work out some sort of compromise or balance.



Yep. Just have to look at the potential problems of doing it the other way and think of ways to deal with them ahead of time.
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#25 ronthecivil

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 11:53 AM

That seems like baseless speculation or fear mongering to me. How would it result in more malicious kind of people smuggling?

I definitely don't agree with prostitution as a practice, but criminalizing such acts doesn't really serve to protect anyone. You're criminalizing people who partake in these practices in order to deter people who have no interest in participating in the first place.



It would work just like the current kind like the tamils paying for transport except you get young women who pay for the whole thing by promising to work in the sex trade (like it or not) with threats to the family back home should she back out of the "contract". You never heard of sexual slavery before?

And if you think tourists suck, how about how many will be coming up here to take advantage of the much shorter flights compared to say east asia or europe. That demand will induce supply.

Not saying what were doing now is right but there are dangers to legalisation as well that should be looked at before it's simply deemed as a magic cure all.
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#26 GUIDO

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 12:04 PM

Because I disagre with you I must be "narrow minded"....please. Your views are totally unrealistic and reflect the fact you know nothing of the people who are actually on the streets selling their bodies.


Pikton was successfull because he chose women that nobody cared about. Those women would continue to exist if whore-houses were made legal. No whore-house would hire a crack addict and those same drug addicts would continue to sell their bodies on shaddy corners. They would be no less at risk.

Currently, escort agencies operate and have circumvented the laws. Making them legal would just allow them to officially advertise. Once again, it would do nothing to help desperate women on the lower east side.


Who's to say no whore-house would hire a crack addict? I mean obviously no high class place is going to higher them but like all things in life there are people who can afford different price levels. Why can't there be mid and lower level houses to cater to all ranges of incomes?
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#27 GUIDO

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 12:09 PM

It would work just like the current kind like the tamils paying for transport except you get young women who pay for the whole thing by promising to work in the sex trade (like it or not) with threats to the family back home should she back out of the "contract". You never heard of sexual slavery before?

And if you think tourists suck, how about how many will be coming up here to take advantage of the much shorter flights compared to say east asia or europe. That demand will induce supply.

Not saying what were doing now is right but there are dangers to legalisation as well that should be looked at before it's simply deemed as a magic cure all.


But if the laws are changed wouldn't those same girls be able to come forward to authorities without fear of being prosecuted themselves?

As for tourists it's not like the police would just turn a blind eye to all things related to prostitution, if anything they would be able to keep a closer eye on it. If people visit here and act like hooligans or do anything else illegal they will be dealt with by the police.
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#28 DonLever

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 12:37 PM

Legalization does not mean there will be no street prostition. All jusrisdiction that have legalize prostitution have street prostitutes. Simply because they are under aged or drug addicted, they will not be allowed in brothels.
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#29 The Situation

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 12:43 PM

Aren't the street prostitutes brought onto the addiction by their pimps in order for the pimps to control them? This is what a police officer said to our class way back in middle school. Now if brothels were legalized, the price would likely drop and there would be comptetition and a real business going on. The government could regulate to ensure that it is safe sex going on. It wouldn't completely eliminate the street prostitution but it would hurt it. It sort of like buying liquor at a store vs buying from some shady person on the street. The shady person on the street charges less but it could be a lot more dangerous and you could get busted. Most people would choose the store option.
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#30 taxi

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 01:55 PM

It would allow the women on the lower east side to organize (or someone to organize them) and would allow them to get off the street and into designated prostitution houses, which would have better security and would be safer for everyone involved.

Escort agencies haven't circumvented the law, they just pay enough to the government to not be prosecuted. Same with massage parlors (special licenses, but they can still be prosecuted, and you see it happening from time to time, usually when they fail to get/renew their license).



Legally there is nothing stopping women on the DTES from organizing already. Non-profit agencies are fully able to organize women in any way they want. Do you really think that legalized pimps and whore houses would really have these women's best interests in mind.

Since legalizing prostitution, Amsteram has become the world's #1 destination for human trafficking:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/6497799.stm


Not only that, the red light district has attracted massive amounts of organized crime. So much so that the Netherlands is now scaling back on brothel and "window" permits on a massive scale:

http://www.timesonli....cle5400641.ece

With the USA next door, which is never likely to legalize prostitution, Canada would become a sex tourist destination. We'd end up with brothels filled with traficked sex slave workers and the women in the DTES would still be on the street. It's not working in Amsterdam. Why would it work here?

Edited by blankall, 29 September 2010 - 01:56 PM.

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