Ontario Court Strikes Down Prostitution Laws

Date: September 28, 2010 Author: Mantis System Categories: Press Releases

As an organization by and for sex workers, Maggie’s: The Toronto Sex Workers Action Project soundly applauds today’s ruling of prostitution laws as a violation of sex workers Charter rights.

Kara Gillies a long time sex worker and activist for law reform says, “After all these years it will be a relief to know that I along with fellow sex workers will be able to go to work can go to work without fearing arrest, incarceration and other violations of our rights as working people.”

“We are looking forward to the end of violence and abuse towards sex workers across this country; this includes stopping the continued prosecution and violence towards sex workers”. The time has come for sex workers and their work be regarded as rights deserving working individuals that provide valuable services, said Keisha Scott- Coordinator of Maggie’s: The Toronto Sex Workers Action Project.

“The courts have finally ruled to put an end to the criminalization of sex workers’ lives and work. This is a great day for sex workers rights,” said, Emily van der Meulen, of Maggie’s Board of Directors.

Last fall, three Ontario sex workers challenged Canada’s prostitution laws as unconstitutional because the laws violate their constitutionally-protected right to life, liberty, security of the person, and freedom of expression. Although prostitution itself is not illegal in Canada, it is against the law to keep a bawdy house, communicate for the purpose of prostitution, and live off the proceeds of prostitution. The plaintiffs – Amy Lebovitch, Terri-Jean Bedford, and Valerie Scott, of Sex Professionals of Canada (SPOC) – argued their case in front of the Superior Court of Ontario in October 2009, with Alan Young as counsel.

It is the laws that surround the legal exchange of sexual services for money that endanger the lives of sex workers”, said Keisha Scott- Coordinator at Maggie’s: The Toronto Sex Workers Action Project. Keisha pointed out that “the very forces that are there to protect individuals are the same forces that perpetuate violence and abuse of sex workers on a daily basis”. “It is a positive step of many towards the handing over of rights that sex workers have been denied for years.”


Communication Coordinator: Communications(at)maggiestoronto.ca