Consenting adults should be able to do whatever they damn well please so long as they’re not violating anyone else’s liberty.
Sadly, people on all points of the political spectrum don’t always agree with this. They mistakenly think the point of government is to direct people away from doing things that they’d personally rather not do.
But if you’re one of the increasingly few left in Canada who think we need less government and more liberty, you should applaud the Supreme Court of Canada’s prostitution ruling.
Even if prostitution is not your cup of tea. Even if you utterly despise it.
Prostitution was not illegal. But pretty much everything surrounding it was.
Now the court has ruled three bans unconstitutional: Against keeping a brothel, soliciting prostitution and livings off of its profits.
Many say their problem isn’t with otherwise safe and consensual prostitution where nothing goes awry.
They just want restrictive laws because they’re seriously concerned about child prostitution, human trafficking, sex slavery, etc.
As they should be. But guess what? All of those are already illegal and of course should be.
So let’s go after these crimes more aggressively than ever. Target them. Perhaps tinker with the laws to better empower police and prosecutors to deal swiftly and firmly with them.
The court decision actually makes it clear that the bans weren’t simply targeting these heinous crimes, but going after the otherwise law-abiding elements of sex commerce.
From the decision: “This case concerns the basic values against arbitrariness (where there is no connection between the effect and the object of the law), overbreadth (where the law goes too far and interferes with some conduct that bears no connection to its objective), and gross disproportionality (where the effect of the law is grossly disproportionate to the state’s objective).” Overreach and disproportion are the key here. Sure, there’s a startlingly large amount of human trafficking that brings women to Canada as sex slaves from abroad.
So presumably if you go after everyone soliciting a prostitute you’re going to catch some people engaged in this criminal underworld.
But you’re also going to ensnare the people who choose to engage in otherwise lawful sex commerce with consenting adult sex workers.
It’s not worth ruining the lives of the latter in the hopes of catching some of the former. Nor is it worth the administrative burden.
Although on that last note, the SCC decision could result in a whole bunch of costly regulations and bureaucracy (municipal brothel inspectors, anyone?).
This will have to be fought, too. Sorry but nobody said the path to liberty was an easy one.
Ultimately, most Canadians likely feel the same way about prostitution as they do about marijuana.
They’re fine with — or at least willing to tolerate — regular people occasionally doing it safely, even if they don’t personally care for it. They just don’t like the spin-off crimes and excess that it can result in.
Sounds reasonable enough. So why harass the moderate, cautious users?
Kelly Block, Conservative MP for Saskatoon — Rosetown — Biggar, has a private member’s bill working its way through Parliament right now that amends the Criminal Code to provide a mandatory minimum of four years in prison for anyone convicted of human trafficking.
Surprisingly, there isn’t one already.
This is simple and specific. It directly relates to the problem.
We need more of these smart tweaks. Not broad laws that unduly impact everyone involved in the world’s oldest profession.
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