Montrealers react to SCC ruling on anti-prostitution Laws
CTV Montreal: Anti-Prostitution Laws Struck Down
Published Friday, December 20, 2013 12:48PM EST
Last Updated Friday, December 20, 2013 9:52PM EST
Canada’s sex workers are celebrating what they’re calling a “huge victory.”
The Supreme Court of Canada unanimously struck down Friday three of the country’s key anti-prostitution laws, declaring them to be unconstitutional, disproportionate and overly broad.
The recently nixed laws prohibited living on the avails of prostitution, street soliciting, and keeping a brothel.
Jennifer Drummond of Stella, a Montreal-based organization that provides resources for sex workers, said the ruling is an amazing step forward for Canada.
“It means (sex workers) can hire drivers without fear,” she said.
“It means they can screen their clients before they get into a car without having to worry that the police are going to show up.”
Those in the industry say though there needs to be better laws to protect against exploitation, cracking down on massage parlours is not the way to go.
“For sure, people were working in the massage parlour are not all exploited. They choose to work there because . . . they feel more secure to work in the massage parlour,” said Anna-Aude Caouette of Stella.
Mayor Denis Coderre has repeatedly talked about cracking down on massage parlours that offer sexual services.
He said that despite Friday’s ruling, he still plans to go ahead with that.
“There is still the same thing regarding human trafficking,” said Coderre.
“My role is to protect the women, because there are also issues of teenagers.”
The ruling doesn’t come into effect for a year, so Montreal police say they will still crack down on soliciting.
In a statement, Quebec Justice Minister Bertrand St. Arnaud says his department will analyze the decision and continue discussions with the federal government to improve the criminal code, primarily in an effort to fight sexual exploitation.
The provincial government announced in the fall that it intends to file an action plan against sexual exploitation in the new year.
-- with files from CTV News