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Canada’s Supreme Court strikes down laws banning prostitution

•, Agence France-Presse
 But it stayed its unanimous nine to zero ruling for one year to allow Parliament to consider whether or not impose other limits on where and how prostitution may be conducted.
This case was “not about whether prostitution should be legal or not,” Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin said in the landmark decision.

Instead, she said, the judges ruled on “whether the laws Parliament has enacted on how prostitution may be carried out pass constitutional muster. I conclude that they do not.”

“I would therefore make a suspended declaration of invalidity, returning the question of how to deal with prostitution to Parliament.”

The original legal challenge was brought by three sex workers who argued that the restrictions on prostitution — criminalizing keeping a bawdy-house, living on the avails of prostitution or soliciting sex in public — put their safety at risk.

The three Toronto women — Terri Jean Bedford, Amy Lebovitch and Valerie Scott — argued that prohibiting solicitation, endangers prostitutes by forcing them to seek customers on street corners.

The law, they said, also prevented them from taking safety measures such as hiring security guards or screening potential clients in an effort to protect themselves from violence.

They called for the right to open brothels to provide a safer environment for prostitutes.

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