Saturday, June 8, 2013

Sex workers rally in Vancouver

Series of Canada-wide marches in favour decriminalizing prostitution

A few dozen people gathered in downtown Vancouver this afternoon to march in favour of further decriminalizing prostitution.

Demonstrators brandished red umbrellas — a symbol for sex workers' rights — as they marched in the rally, one of several held across the country.

The events come ahead of next week's highly anticipated Supreme Court of Canada hearing, which will determine the future of the country's prostitution laws.

Prostitution itself is not illegal in Canada, though many of the key activities surrounding it are banned under three sections of the Criminal Code.

In a 2012 ruling, the Ontario Court of Appeal struck down the section that forbids brothels, but upheld a ban on communication for the purposes of prostitution, which effectively makes street prostitution illegal.

The demonstrators said the laws subject street sex workers to harm by forcing them to work in unsafe parts of cities, and to make snap decisions about whether a client could turn violent.

The court ruling also dealt with the criminalization of living on the avails of prostitution, making it clear that exploitation of prostitutes should be illegal.

Cities holding marches and rallies included Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.

– With files from The Canadian Press

Dozens rally in favour of the decriminalization of prostitution.

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Created: June 13, 2013
Last modified: June 27, 2013
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