Life as a sex worker is difficult, but soon to be less difficult thanks to the Ontario Top Court.

Andrew Terefenko

Opinions Editor

 

Is freedom really free when freewheeling femmes are famously fearful of flawed laws? The Ontario Appeal Court sure thinks so, judging by their Monday decision to cease the ban on brothels, our little piece of bedroom bedlam.

This is some surprisingly progressive behaviour from a legal body that has left sex trade litigations almost purposely vague for decades in a disturbed attempt to delay discussion on the issue. Perhaps this will be the catalyst for enlightened discourse on the topic of fully legal prostitution, unhampered by the strict anti-solicitation enforcement in play. One can hope so, but what is the true underlying victory behind this decision, even if the Supreme Court shoots it down later this year?

This is a victory for intelligent thought on taboo subjects that has been perpetuate in our society for as long as we have been able to call it one. It’s difficult to face, but for an unacceptable amount of time, our species has been bigoted, intolerant and just plain stupid. We’ve come a long way from genocide, slavery and holy wars (well, not so far from the last one) but there is vast room for improvement. Humans are morally asleep, but this is a half step towards waking up.

How might this experiment end for us? In 2000, the nefarious Netherlands legalized prostitution in all forms, including brothel ownership, subject to licensing requirements and legal pimping, as long as coercion of prostitutes or clients was not a factor. Where are they now? The country’s sex workers aren’t exactly self-made fortunes, but they are well protected. Only three years ago the Dutch justice ministry assigned a special prosecutor, who had the express purpose of shutting down prostitution rings associated with organized crime, specifically avoiding the interference of the everyday business of their legal counterparts. This displayed a clear understanding of the difference between “clean” sex trade and the kind that keeps the subject under wraps in schools.

This could be Canada in nine years, more progressive and rational than ever, and it doesn’t even rely on the Supreme Court decision, because as a sovereign nation-state we have made our intent clear when it comes to archaic archetypes. We will not stand for the subjugation of “conservative-unfriendly” lifestyles, and whether it be prostitution, marijuana or gay marriage, there is a fine line between discouraging a naughty act and downright bigotry.

We may be mere humans in our capacity to change in such a short time, but above that, we are Canadians, who are not only the world’s renowned peacekeepers, but have built a reputation that put the “eh” in “tolerate.”

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