Canada to appeal court ruling allowing brothels

Canada to appeal court ruling allowing brothels

Canada's justice minister said yesterday the government will appeal a landmark court ruling last month that quashed portions of a law banning brothels and living off the avails of prostitution.

"Prostitution is harmful for society as it exploits Canada's most vulnerable people, especially woman," Minister Rob Nicholson said in parliament.

"Canadians can continue to count on this government to protect those that are vulnerable to this exploitation."

In a statement, Nicholson went on to say that Ottawa will appeal the Ontario Court of Appeal's decision to the country's high court.

He said the government believes the Criminal Code provisions are "constitutionally sound" and that "it is important to clarify the constitutionality of the law and remove the uncertainty this decision has created."

The appeal's court ruling lifted key barriers which it said put sex trade workers at risk of harm, and so effectively decriminalised prostitution in Ontario province.

However, it was suspended for 12 months to give parliament an opportunity to redraft the legislation.

Three Toronto women had challenged the anti-prostitution law in October 2009, arguing that prohibiting solicitation endangers prostitutes by forcing them to seek customers on street corners.

They called for decriminalising prostitution and for the right to open brothels to provide a safer environment for prostitutes.

A lower court agreed with them, saying "the danger faced by prostitutes greatly outweighs any harm which may be faced by the public."

The decision was partly upheld on appeal. But a ban on communicating in public for the purpose of prostitution was affirmed by the appeal's court.

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