My Upper Canada College Speech – II

Judge Himel said her decision was not about whether prostitution is good or bad, or whether it should continue to be legal, or, for that matter, what prostitution is and is not. Her 131 page decision, after two years of hearings from experts and lawyers, was that the laws seeking to restrict prostitution (whatever that is) were unconstitutional. In a nutshell she said that those laws impacted negatively on those they were supposed to protect. For example, they prevent prostitutes from hiring security or working from a regular location. She also said that these harmful laws impacted in a discriminatory and arbitrary fashion on a narrow segment of society– on women. Yet, many voices rose saying that prostitution should not be made legal. First of all they forget it already is. These uninformed voices tell us that prostitution and pimping will increase dramatically, as will human trafficking, if the decision is upheld and nothing else is done. They also tell us that prostitution is bad. This is all crap. The judge said the evidence does not support those assertions. You can read her decision where she looks at other countries and the evidence at length and says why. I would like to add a couple of other considerations. For one thing, do men who pay prostitutes have unlimited money to ramp up their demand. For another, prostitution is rampant today and the current laws, as the judge said, are rarely enforced anyway. And something else. Human trafficking and women being illegally exploited in this country occurs across a number of occupations such as household domestics, farm labourers, office cleaners and, I could go on. The judge did point out that the negative aspects of human trafficking and so on are addressed by other laws: such as those against immigration, confinement and assault.

To be Continued

– Terri-Jean Bedford

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