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Canada's sex laws challenged in court

April 1, 2011 at 7:05 PM

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, April 1 (UPI) -- Canada's Supreme Court has cleared the way for Vancouver sex workers to appeal laws they say make it more dangerous for them to ply their trade.

The issue involves a case filed in 2007 by retired British Columbia prostitute Sheryl Kiselbach and the Downtown Eastside Sex Workers United Against Violence in Society, which represents sex trade workers.

They argue the country's prostitution laws forced them to work on the streets, where there is higher risk of violence, by banning brothels and pimps.

In December 2008, provincial Supreme Court Justice Bill Ehrcke ruled Kiselbach, 58 at the time, had no standing because she was no longer a working prostitute and didn't challenge the law when charged with prostitution-related offenses, the Vancouver Sun reported Thursday.

The British Columbia Court of Appeal overturned the ruling, saying Kiselbach did indeed have standing and sending the case to the Canada Supreme Court.

Prostitution is legal in Canada, but it is illegal to communicate in a public place for the purpose of engaging in paid sex, to keep a common bawdy house or brothel, or to act as a pimp, living off the earnings of prostitutes, the Sun said.

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