There was lots of applause for Osgoode Hall Law School professor Alan Young today following the Ontario Court of Appeal's ruling on Canada's prostitution laws.
At a press conference at the 519 Church St. Community Centre following the release of the ruling in Canada (Attorney General) v. Bedford, advocates for sex-trade workers cheered Young for his work on the case. "We achieved what we set out to do," Young tells Legal Feeds in reaction to today's ruling that changes the definition of a common bawdy house and alters the Criminal Code provision related to living off the avails of prostitution.
Young noted every judge he and his colleagues have appeared before on behalf of clients Terri Jean Bedford, Amy Levovitch, and Valerie Scott has largely agreed with their arguments about the problems with Canada's prostitution laws. "The right thing was done," he said of the ruling, noting the appeal court has modernized the law in order to allow sex-trade workers to protect themselves.
Not everyone is happy about the ruling, however. Critics of prostitution, including those who have previously worked in the field, say the work remains dangerous and harmful despite the legal changes. "This is not a choice," said Karatrina MacLeod, a former sex-trade worker who's now involved with the Walk With Me program that deals with human trafficking issues.