Court decision won't stop exploitation 0
The decision by the Ontario Court of Appeal on Monday to overturn Canada's laws as they pertain to brothels has been hailed as a victory by sex trade workers' advocate groups. Essentially, the court said the law adds to the hazards of an already dangerous profession.
The decision is binding on the courts in Ontario, but not in the rest of Canada. Unquestionably, it will be appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada and we'll have to wait and see if that decision will apply across the country.
Parliament, of course, could have another look at the decision and rewrite the applicable Criminal Code sections before that. But, considering prostitution was essentially made legal more than 30 years ago and it was only the communication for the purpose was illegal according to the courts, governments of all persuasions have since lacked the testicular fortitude to take the question on.
But supporters of the decision should be cautious with their applause. While there is no doubt the spectre of Robert "Willy" Pickton looms large over this whole question, there's no chance that even the prospect of having legal brothels will suddenly make sex trade workers safe.
Following the decision, Toronto Coun. Giorgio Mammoliti suggested the city should set up a red light district and charge $100,000 for a permit; cash-starved municipal governments would be salivating at the thought of the new revenue stream. But the notion that streetwalkers would be able to pony up such a sum for a licence and hire staff as protection is ludicrous. Equally, I suspect the NIMBY crowd would shout out in abject horror at the idea of having a brothel on the block.
It seems to me that it is much more likely that this opens the door for elements of organized crime to walk through and further exploit women. It also facilitates the perpetuation of those who would keep sex slaves indentured for as long as they are profitable, then discarded or worse. People like Reza Moazami, who was targeted by the Vancouver Police Department vice squad in the fall in Project Sabr.
Moazami has been charged with multiple counts involving girls as young as 14. This is only the second time in the history of the VPD that it has laid charges of human trafficking. He is currently before the courts and this forbids me from discussing the lurid details of this case.
The sex trade has always been shadowy and dangerous. It is a world populated by pimps and thugs who exploit women in the worst imaginable ways. I see nothing in the Ontario court decision to change that.