Ontario Legalizes Brothels

Prostitutes can now organize, hire security

By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 26, 2012 6:43 PM CDT

(Newser) – Ontario has just made it slightly more difficult for Dominique Strauss-Kahn to get arrested within her borders: An Ontario court today overturned a ban on brothels, in a controversial move designed to minimize risks and safety threats to those who work in the world's oldest profession. The ruling will take effect next year, and will allow prostitutes to work under one roof protected by security and other support staff, reports the Globe and Mail.

“It’s so nice to feel that we have been brought into society,” says the legal coordinator of Sex Professionals of Canada. “I feel like a debutante. I feel like a citizen.” Other advocates concurred, saying that the move puts prostitutes on the path to becoming regular tax-paying citizens. “Any form of criminalization pushes the industry underground and gives opportunities for predators," she says. Of note, the court tweaked the pimping law to make it illegal “in circumstances of exploitation.” It also left standing a statute that makes it illegal to communicate in a public place for the purpose of prostitution. An appeal is expected.

Terri-Jean Bedford, center, with Nikki Thomas, left, and Valerie Scott after Ontario struck down a ban on brothels. Bedford, a dominatrix, said sex trade laws force workers from the safety of home.   (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Aaron Vincent Elkaim)
Terri-Jean Bedford, center, a dominatrix, has argued that Canada's sex trade laws force workers from the safety of their homes to face violence on the streets.   (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Aaron Vincent Elkaim)
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