Editor’s Note: Ronald Weitzer is a professor of sociology at George Washington University in Washington, DC, and an expert on the sex industry. He is the author of Legalizing Prostitution: From Illicit Vice to Lawful Business and editor of Sex for Sale: Prostitution, Pornography, and the Sex Industry.
By Ronald Weitzer – Special to CNN
Prostitution is in the news because it is legal in Colombia, where U.S. Secret Service and military personnel have been implicated in a sex-for-pay scandal. And just a few weeks ago, a Canadian court threw out two of Canada’s three prostitution laws – laws that criminalize brothel owners and individuals who “live off the avails” of someone else’s prostitution (see my earlier piece in GPS on this ruling). The court ruled these laws unconstitutional, thus raising the possibility that Canada might legalize prostitution in the future.
What many people do not know is that prostitution is legal in many nations. According to ProCon.org’s review of laws in 100 countries, 61% have legalized at least some kind of prostitution. Since 1971, it has been legal in rural counties in Nevada, where about 300 women work in brothels regulated by local ordinances. FULL POST
A remarkable court decision took place in Canada this week. The Ontario Court of Appeal, hearing an appeal of a lower court’s 2010 ruling, affirmed much of the latter’s decision invalidating the nation’s prostitution laws. If left intact, the appeals court’s ruling essentially decriminalizes two prostitution-related activities.
The lower court ruled that Canada’s three main prostitution laws were unconstitutional because they, in effect, increased the risks to prostitutes and thus contradicted the Canadian Charter’s guarantee of "life, liberty and security of the person.” That court threw out the laws against running a brothel, third parties “living off the avails” of prostitution, and the prohibition on solicitation. FULL POST
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