The Himel Decision – II

Here is some of what the judge wrote. “Prostitution per se is not illegal in Canada, although many prostitution related activities are prohibited by provisions in the Criminal Code. The applicants’ case is based on the proposition that the impugned provisions prevent prostitutes from conducting their lawful business in a safe environment (Paragraph 8). With respect to s.7 of the Charter, the applicants argue that not only do the impugned provisions violate liberty….but also security of the person as the operation and intersection of the impugned provisions materially contribute to the violence faced by prostitutes (Paragraph 10). Under s.210, the bawdy-house provisions, it is illegal to conduct prostitution in an indoor location on a habitual and frequent basis. The applicants maintain that the evidence demonstrates that violence is significantly reduced or eliminated in most indoor settings. Under….the living under the avails of prostitution provision, the applicants argue the it is illegal to hire managers, drivers, and security personnel and that these type of services can reduce or eliminate the incidence of violence faced by prostitutes. Finally it is illegal….to communicate in public for the purposes of prostitution. The applicants take the position that this prohibition has compelled prostitutes to make hasty decisions without properly screening customers when working on the streets, thereby increasing their risk of danger (Paragraph 11).

Terri-Jean Bedford

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