OTTAWA - Prostitution Bill C-36 passed third reading in the House of Commons Oct. 6 by a 156-124 vote and now heads to the Senate, on track for passage by December. 

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OTTAWA - Prostitution Bill C-36 passed the House of Commons Justice Committee with amendments that put it on track for a Third Reading vote when Parliament resumes in September.

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OTTAWA - After only five hours of debate, Bill C-36, the federal government's new prostitution bill passed second reading June 16 by a 139-117 vote.

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OTTAWA - An array of groups that oppose prostitution are applauding the introduction of Bill C-36 June 4 that criminalizes the purchase of sex, targeting johns as well as pimps and traffickers. 

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OTTAWA - The Supreme Court of Canada has agreed to hear an appeal of an Ontario Court of Appeal ruling that upheld most of a lower court’s decision to strike down some of Canada’s prostitution laws.

The federal government had applied for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court in late May.

Prostitution is not illegal in Canada, but activities surrounding it are: soliciting for the purposes of prostitution, running a brothel or bawdy house and living off the avails of prostitution or pimping.

But in a landmark ruling March 26, the Ontario Court of Appeal rendered a decision that legalizes brothels and allows prostitutes to hire protection and other staff. Public solicitation and pimping remain illegal but the court ruled that prostitutes have a constitutional right to work in safe environments such as an organized brothel.

However, the Ontario court suspended implementation of its decision for one year to give Parliament time to amend the criminal code.

The Catholic Civil Rights League welcomed news of the appeal.

“With our partners REAL Women of Canada and Christian Legal Fellowship, we have been intervenors in this case from its beginning in Ontario Superior Court,” said league executive director Joanne McGarry.

“Our position was and remains that while the law is not perfect, any liberalization of it would not improve prostitutes’ safety, and would make it easier to lure and exploit vulnerable girls and women

“Evidence from other jurisdictions suggests that when legalization occurs, the illegal side of the business continues to flourish,” she said in a statement.

REAL Women of Canada national vice president Gwendolyn Landolt says she and the other two groups expect to file their intention to intervene by next April.

Landolt said REAL Women would like to see prostitution itself prohibited.

“We do want to see that women who are prostitutes have an option to get off the streets, into safe houses and to receive treatment,” said Landolt, who noted many have problems with alcohol or drugs and sell sex to maintain their addictions.

“They need help. You don’t encourage them by widening the law.”

She said cases where prostitution laws have been loosened have not brought more safe conditions for prostitutes.

“Brothels do not protect women,” she said. “In the Netherlands, one-third of brothels had to be shut down because the criminal element became involved.

“Prostitution is inherently dangerous, no matter what circumstances are involved.”

Landolt warned about the consequences to women and children who are being trafficked into, out of or across Canada into the sex trade. Canada is already a transit country for traffickers bringing sex slaves into the United States, she said. Aboriginal women and children are especially vulnerable to trafficking.

“Human trafficking is one of the most lucrative criminal undertakings in the world,” she said, along with the sale of illegal weapons and the drug trade.

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VATICAN CITY - The scourge of sex tourism and the trafficking of human beings for harvesting organs must be urgently addressed, Pope Benedict XVI said.

Such crimes are "evils that must be dealt with urgently since they trample on the rights of millions of men and women, especially among the poor, minors and handicapped," he said.

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The decision by the Ontario appeal court to legalize brothels is misguided but the judges got one thing right. They agree it is not their place to make laws and have urged Parliament to act.

On March 26, the court ruled that prostitutes have a Charter right to work in safe environments and therefore should be allowed to operate brothels and hire bodyguards. Pimping and public solicitation remain illegal but otherwise the court gave a green light to red lights.

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Legalizing prostitution won’t make women safer, a sex-trade survivor told about 200 women and 20 men at a one-day conference on human trafficking.

Just two days before the Ontario Court of Appeal released a ruling that legalized brothels while maintaining laws against pimping in the Criminal Code, Bridget Perrier told conference delegates the myth of prostitution as a choice must be challenged. The March 24 conference was organized by themy Loretto Sisters.

“We always hear that prostitution is the world’s oldest profession. I always say it’s the world’s oldest oppression,” Perrier said. “Really, it’s paid rape. It’s child abuse.”

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Now that Ontario’s highest court has found most laws surrounding prostitution in Canada are unconstitutional, people on all sides of the debate are urging Parliament to act.

In a landmark ruling likely to be appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada, the Ontario Court of Appeal rendered a decision on March 26 that legalizes brothels and allows prostitutes to hire protection and other staff.  Public solicitation and pimping remain illegal but the court ruled that prostitutes have a constitutional right to work in safe environments.

However, the Ontario court suspended implementation of its decision for one year to give Parliament time to amend the criminal code.

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OTTAWA - As a battle over Canada’s prostitution laws wends its way through the courts, some Christian groups are campaigning to abolish prostitution.

Last year, an Ontario judge struck down Canada’s prostitution laws as unconstitutional, agreeing with the prostitutes who brought the case that the present laws endanger their security of person, forcing them to work on the streets or unable to seek help from police. The decision is under appeal.

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WASHINGTON - Picking up from efforts to stem sex trafficking at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, 11 women's religious orders from Indiana and Michigan are working to stop sex trafficking at this year's Super Bowl.

The orders are members of the Coalition for Corporate Responsibility for Indiana and Michigan, established in the early 1990s. The coalition is a member of the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility, which spearheaded the anti-sex trafficking efforts two years ago in South Africa.

The nuns aren't always the biggest football fans, but they've picked up some of the terminology.

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