Best little whore house in Sault Ste. Marie? Not yetFriday, March 30, 2012 by: Carol Martin
Saultites should not expect any brothels in their home town real soon, says City Police Chief Bob Davies.
At a meeting Thursday afternoon he briefed members of the Police Services Board on the local ramifications of Tuesday's decision by Ontario Superior Court of Justice to strike down part of the section of the Criminal Code of Canada that deals with prostitution.
Sault Ste. Marie has a two-tier community of prostitution, Davies told board members.
That's street prostitution and prostitutes people can call.
Davies said the police don't know of any brothels operating in the city and he doubts any will start up soon.
That's just not how prostitution works in the Sault, he said.
On Tuesday morning Ontario Superior Court Justice Susan Himel released her ruling on Canada's anti-prostitution laws.
She said parts of section 210 of the Criminal Code of Canada are contrary to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and that those laws contribute to the danger faced by sex-trade workers.
The Ontario Superior Court of Justice, the Province's highest court, ruled that the part of section 210 of the Criminal Code of Canada that says it is illegal to operate a common bawdy house, or brothel, is offensive to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, should be struck from the Code and that section be rewritten by the Parliament of Canada.
"It is my view that in the meantime these unconstitutional provisions should be of no force and effect," Himel wrote in her decision. "Particularly given the seriousness of the charter violations."
Justice Himel suspended the effect of the decision on brothels for 12 months but the Federal Justice Minister, Rob Nicholson and Rona Ambrose, minister for the status of women have said they are seriously considering launching an appeal of the decision to legalize brothels, Chief Davies told Police Services Board members yesterday.
In 30 days, if the ruling stands and the effect is not suspended longer, charges will be laid only against anyone who lives off the avails in circumstances of exploitation, not against anyone living off the avails of prostitution.
"Prostitutes will be able to hire body guards and other people to help them conduct their business," Davies told board members, "And it will be legal for those people to profit from the avails of prostitution."
Prostitution is not illegal in Canada.
Until Justice Himel's ruling comes into effect, there are legal prohibitions against keeping a common bawdy house, communicating for the purposes of prostitution and living on the avails of the trade, but not against prostitution.
Davies said, if and when Himel's ruling takes effect, people will be able to apply to the City to obtain a license to operate a brothel or bawdy house.
"It will be up to City Council to decide where those houses can go, how much the licenses will cost and all those sorts of things," said Davies.
Local police are still seeing some streetwalker activity in the Albert Street and downtown area, Davies said, with some sporadic incidents of complaints from residents in the area.
The laws against solicitation for the purposes of prostitution are still in effect, he said, and Justice Himel's ruling doesn't propose to change them so police will continue to monitor the situation and lay charges as required.