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The subject who is truly loyal to the Chief Magistrate will neither advise nor submit to arbitrary measures. A prostitute works the streets of Vancouver's downtown Eastside in Sex-trade workers voluntarily enter a world known for violence, drugs and death, the federal government will argue at a June showdown over the embattled prostitution laws. In a legal brief filed with the Ontario Court of Appeal, government lawyers argue that the state does not owe prostitutes a promise of safety if they choose a profession that is fraught with danger.
The historic test case has burgeoned into a five-day appeal that will be heard by a specially convened panel of five judges. They will decide whether Ontario Superior Court Justice Susan Himel was correct last year when she struck down the laws governing pimping, keeping a brothel and communicating for the purposes of prostitution. The federal brief insists that Judge Himel was wrong to suggest that individuals are entitled to engage in prostitution, and that Parliament "is not obliged to minimize hindrances and maximize safety for those that do so contrary to the law.
However, sex-trade workers and advocates who argued for the law to be struck down maintain that since prostitution is legal, it is dangerously hypocritical to make it impossible for sex-trade workers to operate in safety. In her judgment, Judge Himel agreed with them. She said that laws set up to protect prostitutes endanger their safety, forcing them to engage in hasty transactions conducted in shady locations.
The stay was recently extended until the hearing in June. Alan Young, a law professor who succeeded in having the prostitution law struck down, said that he agreed reluctantly to the extension.
Young said in an interview. The appeal has attracted a collection of would-be intervenors who are scheduled to argue Friday that they should be included in the appeal hearing. Two other organizations that work with hundreds of sex-trade workers - Maggies: Maggie's position is that "all consensual sex work is legitimate," the brief said. The group argued that prospective intervenors who support the laws insist on "moralizing" about how prostitution is sinful and amoral.