Libby Welcomes Superior Court Ruling Striking Down Harmful Laws

September 28, 2010

MP Libby Davies Welcomes Superior Court Ruling Striking Down Harmful Laws

Ottawa- Vancouver East MP Libby Davies welcomes today’s landmark Ontario Superior Court ruling striking down Canada’s laws surrounding prostitution noting the laws are substantially “increasing the risk of harm” to sex workers.

“This is a long overdue victory for some of Canada’s most vulnerable women,” said Davies. “The ruling is in line with the 2006 findings of the Parliamentary Sub-Committee on Solicitation Laws, showing that current laws are hurting sex workers,” said Davies whose Private Member’s Motion was the impetus for the sub-committee.

The Ontario ruling recognizes the role that Canada’s harmful and marginalizing prostitution laws played in the Pickton murders and the disappearance and murder of upwards of 300 other women, mostly sex workers, across Canada.

“It’s imperative that the federal government accept the legitimacy of the Superior Court decision and consider what needs to be done to protect the rights and safety of sex workers, as well as the wider public,” said Davies.

Davies praised the complainants, three women working in the sex-trade, for their courage to bringing this to public attention and seeing this through.


This Press Release was posted on September 28, 2010


A Terrible Decision

Dear Libby,
I don't know which delusionary planet you are living on, but this is a terrible decision for women.

In many countries where prostitution is legal or at least tolorated under the table, there is confusion by men regarding boundaries for the non sexualized female population. As a woman who has been raped, I know first hand what it feels like to experience this sort of macho ignorance and I know first hand what it feels like to victomized by the impression that consent can be bought. And I don't think for a second that this will help any east-side woman to gain help in a dangerous situation. The police will only find other excuses not to follow up. My own assault was NOT taken care of here in Vancouver and I was able to go through the right channels. The fault is with crappy service from the police in regards to crime.
The fault is not with changing these laws but with acting swiftly and correctly when a violent act is committed and educating young men and women about treating each other with fairness and respect. All this will serve to do is put more young women into prostitution due to financial pressures. You may "talk to or screen" people all you like, but thay will not always divulge the truth. It also places the public at a greater health risk - "sexually transmitted diseases" are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the illnesses one can get from imtimate contact with an unknown person and it is often the unsuspecting family member who pay the greatest price. He or she is unlikely to mention the possiblity of an unsual disease because he or she has no reason to have come into contact with it. It is near impossible to screen for the number of potential diseases that can be passed by intimate contact.
Quite simply there are some things in life that should be free, the sun, the air, friendships, and love. And to make someone pay for these skews how men or women feel about themselves. Who REALLY wants to be the guy or gal who has to pay for something as natural as attention or love? This (prostitution)is nothing but social bullying on the part of women. I think there is an understandable anger from men towards women who take advantage of them and this anger spills everywhere. If Columbine or Robert Pickton taught us anything, it's that people can only be used and abused for so long before something snaps.
There are billions of people on this planet - beleive me, no matter who you are, no matter what you look like there is someone out there who will love you for who you are and won't charge a dime.

A Terrifying Comment.

I must say how outraged I am to read such an offensive comment. I have heard each of these hateful arguements individually in the past, but never so closely connected! Especially not from one whom I assume would claim themselves to be a feminist.

First, you place the blame for the rape, harrassment, and abuse of the general population of women on the backs of sex workers. This returns to the outrageous idea that a sex worker can only be two things: a "victim" who must be rescued by all us normal people who know how blinded by exploition those victims really are, or a "collaborator" who while still a victim is just too much of a whore and man-lover to realize that her promiscuous ways are the reason that incest, rape, and abuse happens.

Second you start saying how much it hurts for the men to have to pay for sex, and seem to be claiming that the horrifying and devastating acts of the Columbine shooting and Pickton are somehow understandable, since those collaborators discussed above wouldn't have sex with them for free.

It seems obvious to me that the anonymous commentor above has not taken the time to actually look at the facts of this case, that sex workers are facing extreme levels of violence and abuse on a daily basis, and are being denied the basic right to take precautions that could in fact save their lives. The commentor obviously does not care about the 100's of sex workers who have died as a result of these laws. She does not care about the severe rights violations that have become entrenched into our system, and which this decision has attempted to address.

Sex workers are mothers and fathers, they are someones sibling, someones childhood friend, someones kid, they live their lives every day and have things they are passionate about, people they love, favourite foods, favourite places to go. There are people who's day they make that much better when they come in for a coffee in the morning or smile at in the supermarket.

These people deserve their right to liberty, their right to security of the person, and we should be joining with Libby in celebration of this landmark decision, not condemning the very marginalized people who had the courage to stand up for their rights.

And now what?

Hurrah!! The laws criminalizing prostituted women are on their way to being struck down. Congratulations on achieving step #1 in securing women's safety and freedom in this country. And now, I hope I can count on you to turn your attention to the next critical step - which must be the criminalization of the demand for paid sex, pimping, procuring and trafficking.

Race, class and gender inequality is the reason that prostitution exists in the first place, and complete legalization would only entrench those inequalities. Women need the State to intervene on our behalf in order to live in a country that respects and honours the freedom of all its citizens - and offers equality under the law. Surely, as the representative of "some of Canada's most vulnerable women", you are not going to promote them being legally bought and sold? Surely your vision for Canada does not include women as products and commodities, but rather as equal members of a just society? Surely you are not planning to hang up a welcome sign to the global prostitution and trafficking business?

I do hope you take this moment to make a courageous new stand on behalf of all women in the downtown eastside, across Canada and around the world. An NDP supporter, I have not been able to vote for you for years because of your stand on this issue. I look forward to you finally standing up to the unchecked male demand for paid sexual access to women’s bodies and saying: Our women are NOT for sale.


Prostitution is not just another way to make a living, it is a degrading form of slavery. The real question is why some people fall into this ugly world. Whether it is the need to pay for drugs to feed an addiction or as a desperate last resort to make ends meet or because, as is the case for too many women, they are forced onto it, prostitution is a soul-destroying life. The judge hasn't struck a blow for liberation, she has led the way to legalizing slavery. We should be working for a way to end the conditions that make prostitution a necessity for some people.