This week our Neighbor to the North joined in the ongoing debate about the world’s oldest profession. Canada’s highest court unanimously struck down three laws regulating prostitution: one which banned keeping a brothel, one which barred street solicitation of sex, and a third that made it illegal to earn a living from prostitution.
The Canadian court ruled found that Canada’s prostitution laws violated the guarantee to life, liberty and security of the person. It also held that the law prohibiting people from making a living from prostitution is too broad. In addition, Canadian courts have reasoned that the ban on brothels endangers prostitutes by forcing them out onto the streets.
Should prostitution be decriminalized or even legalized in America? Prostitution is legal in a number of countries, but in the United States it is lawful only in Nevada. “Sex workers” argue that they should be permitted to pursue their livelihood as they see fit, and proponents of legalization contend that it would permit prostitution to be licensed, regulated, and controlled, with the regulation to include periodic medical examinations to ensure that basic health and safety conditions are satisfied. Proponents also say that legal brothels, should free prostitutes from the yoke of abusive pimps.
In America, social standards are changing — and often the driving force behind the change is the desire of governmental entities for more tax revenue. The current movement to legalize marijuana seems to be motivated, at least in significant part, by the dollar signs legislatures see from the opportunity to tax. Could the ban on prostitution in America be the next social and legal convention to change in the quest for more tax money?