The latest news on the decriminalization of prostitution in Canada: sex trade workers in British Columbia are, like their counterparts in Ontario, challenging the restrictions on their trade. In Ontario, the decision has been stayed for four months while the appeal is heard.
For a good review of the legal issues in Bredford v. Canada,see Umair Abdul’s October 12 post at TheCourt.ca; although the author clearly favours Judge Himel and her conclusions, Abdul does a good job explaining the technical reasons for the decision and what might come of an appeal.
I came to this late, but I think the reaction of the Native Women’s Association of Canada to Judge Susan Himel’s decision to throw out Criminal Code restrictions on prostitution is worth highlighting:
While this decision highlights the inherent harm and risk of violence in prostitution, the Native Women’s Association of Canada is concerned that this judicial decision was based on the fact that the law is written from the perspective of street nuisance (reducing the street nuisance associated with prostitution) and not with the safety of the individuals working as prostitutes…
This ruling is also marred with contention in scenarios where prostitutes hire “assistants” for their safety or management of business, in that it can place them in a vulnerable position by allowing human traffickers to pose as “assistants” acting in their best interest when in fact they are simply living off the avails of prostitution or have trafficked women.
Much has been made of Judge Himel taking more than a year studying 25,000 pages of evidence regarding the harm that restrictions on brothels and communication do to sex trade workers, but there is no evidence in the decision that Judge Himel took human trafficking into consideration. Considering that this is a hot topic, it might be one for editorialists and politicians to pursue.