The long-awaited Attorney General of Canada, et al. v. Terri Jean Bedford, et al. case is before the Supreme Court, June 13. A coalition of groups wants the court to decriminalize the indoor work of female prostitutes.
The case stems from an Ontario Court of Appeal ruling last March. The court struck down a section of the law that forbids brothels, and upheld a ban on “communication for the purposes of prostitution,” which effectively makes street prostitution illegal.
The Women’s Coalition for the Abolition of Prostitution is one of the nearly two dozen groups that have been granted intervenor status in the Supreme Court appeal. The coalition is made up of seven organizations, including the Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centres, the Native Women’s Association of Canada, and the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies.
The group argues that men are the main benefactors of the sex industry.
Toronto lawyer and law professor Alan Young had challenged the law in 2009, on behalf of sex trade workers. Young argued the law made it legal to engage in the act of prostitution, but illegal to be indoors, hire bodyguards or screen clients.
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