The British Columbia Court of Appeal decided Tuesday that the plaintiffs -- former prostitute Sheri Kiselbach and the Downtown Eastside Sex Workers United Against Violence -- have a public-interest right to challenge the criminal code, despite not being actively involved in the sex trade themselves, the Toronto Globe and Mail reported.
The plaintiffs sued in 2007, but a provincial court dismissed the case in December 2008, saying they did not have standing because they were not affected by current laws. Kiselbach and the group argued that active prostitutes who sued would be incriminating themselves and risk their livelihood. They appealed the decision in January 2009.
Kiselbach, 59, and SWUAV want to overturn three parts of the code to let prostitutes to solicit clients for sex, operate a bawdy house and live off the proceeds of prostitution. If they succeed, activists argue, sex workers will be safer.
Kiselbach says once sex workers don't feel like criminals, they will be freer to report violence.