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Prostitution In Canada Essay

2372 words - 10 pages

Prostitution in Canada has had a long history. Prostitution is the exchange of money in return for sexual favors. The most commonly thought of form of prostitution is street-based but this makes up a portion of the trade. Other forms include escort services and brothels, to name a few. Prostitution has been legal in Canada for hundreds of years, as Canada inherited their laws from England, but there have been several laws aimed at preventing it. These laws include prohibitions on brothels, communication in public for the purpose of prostitution, and making a living off of prostitution. Therefore, while prostitution itself is not illegal, it is very difficult to engage in it without breaking the law. This leads to a lot of misunderstanding, as many men are not aware that these various laws exist, only knowing that prostitution itself is legal. In support of this, Wortley, Fischer, and Webster (2002) found that 17% of Ontario men who had been arrested under the communication or solicitation law in Ontario were apparently unaware that it was illegal to talk to a prostitute about buying sex (Morton 2012).
For example, many citizens of Canada are unaware that speaking for the purpose of arranging prostitution is illegal. This causes sex workers to not have proper time to assess their clientele in the street and make a proper decision about whether they wish to engage with them. This leads to dangerous situations for the sex workers. Another difficult law surrounding prostitution would be concerning brothels. Brothels are technically illegal although many times they operate openly and freely without any interruption, which furthers confusion. Furthermore, any establishment that is used on a frequent basis for prostitution is illegal, which also doesn’t allow prostitutes to work out of their homes or any other residence. This leads to more dangerous situations as sex workers conduct their business in dark alleys or get into cars with strange men, rather than a brothel, which is typically protected and safeguarded. Parliament has deemed these acts “a threat to public order or offensive to public decency.”(Robertson 2003) The public is under the impression that the sex trade brings added traffic, loitering, and drugs into their areas.
The legality of prostitution and its connecting acts has been called into question every so often but has never made any major changes. This was until recently when three of Canada’s prostitution laws were deemed unconstitutional and struck down by an Ontario Superior Court judge in Bedford v Canada in 2010 (Morton 2012). In December of 2013, in a unanimous decision, the Canadian Parliament struck down has eradicated the current laws surrounding prostitution in favor of reforming and reshaping more adequate laws. The court has stated that the laws against living off the wages of prostitution was intended to stop pimps but actually just punishes the legitimate bodyguards and drivers that these prostitutes...

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