Canadian prostitution ruling stayed

Dec. 2, 2010 at 3:44 PM
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TORONTO, Dec. 2 (UPI) -- A ruling by an Ontario judge decriminalizing prostitution has been stayed, leaving Canada's laws on the sex trade in limbo, officials said.

Ontario Court of Appeal Judge Marc Rosenberg extended a stay of proceedings imposed after a September decision by Ontario Superior Court Judge Susan Himel that struck down Canada's prostitution laws, the Toronto Globe and Mail reported Thursday.

The stay of the ruling, requested by the Canadian government while they prepared an appeal of Himel's ruling, will remain in effect until April 29, Rosenberg ruled.

Prostitutes were reportedly divided on Himel's decriminalization decision, with some hailing it as a step toward ending the constant jeopardy many of them face in their trade while others feared they would be caught in red tape dealing with health inspectors, tax collectors and licensing officials as a result of decriminalization.

Nikki Thomas, a spokesman for Sex Professionals of Canada, said sex workers "are not waiting around so that they can run into schoolyards and start leaving condoms under monkey bars. ... This is about human rights and our ability to look after ourselves, our partners and our children. You won't see a huge explosion of sex workers in the streets."

Critics said decriminalization would see street prostitutes descending on residential neighborhoods and allow pimps to operate freely.

In her ruling Judge Himel suggested decriminalization would not lead to chaos on the streets since other Criminal Code provisions would permit authorities to control violent pimps or prostitutes who become a nuisance.

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