06 October 2015

#66 We Can Do Worse

The Supreme Court of Canada struck down the provisions of the Criminal Code relating to the sex trade, and gave the federal government a year to replace them with laws that would pass the test of constitutionality. The outgoing government seized upon the opportunity to present a piece of legislation that included many of the same provisions, with a few extra oppressions for good measure.

Back in the new law are the provisions about communicating for the purposes of prostitution, for example, and there are new criminal sanctions for the purchase of sexual services. What drives the clients underground will necessarily drive the sellers underground, to places where security and health services have trouble reaching them. There was even a proposal in the original bill that criminalized the sale of sexual services in certain areas (within a certain distance of schools, I believe it was), but this was tempered before the final adoption. It didn’t really fit with the “all sex workers are exploited victims” narrative the government was trying to use to sell this to the public.

So there is no reason to believe that the new laws will do any better on the test of whether they are overly broad and fail to protect the health and security of sex workers. We can expect more court battles over several more years before it comes back to the Supreme Court to send the government back to the drawing board yet again. We will have wasted an awful lot of money, but even more importantly, we will have sacrificed the health and the lives of many women and men involved in the sex trade.

Further reading here

The court spoke as one
Start with their health and safety
before you make laws

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What extraordinary decisions are being made in Canada. I read the news and I can't believe how repressive and regressive your government is. Thanks for letting me know about this as I'd missed it.