Canada sex workers to challenge prostitution-related criminal laws

Canada sex workers to challenge prostitution-related criminal laws

[JURIST] The Sex Professionals of Canada [advocacy website] (SPOC) announced Wednesday they will initiate an application with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice [website] alleging that three Canadian criminal offenses are unconstitutional under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms [text]. Prostitution is legal in Canada, but the advocacy group argues that the combined effect of three provisions – s.210, s.212, and s.213 – violate s.7 of the Charter, which states:

Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.

The challenged Criminal Code [text] provisions criminalize "keeping a common bawdry house," living on avails of prostitution, and communicating with potential clients. The SPOC will argue that the challenged provisions deny sex workers the ability to conduct legal business. CBC News has more.

The SPOC says the ongoing trial of Robert Pickton [CBC case backgrounder] highlights the need to allow Canadian sex workers to practice their trade in the safety of their own homes. Pickton is accused of murdering 26 women [indictment text], most of them prostitutes, in the Vancouver area in the 1990s. His trial began in January [JURIST report].