OTTAWA (AP) - Canada's highest court struck down the country's anti-prostitution laws in their entirety Friday, including against keeping a brothel.
The unanimous 9-0 Supreme Court ruling is a victory for sex workers seeking safer working conditions because it found that the laws violated the guarantee to life, liberty and security of the person. But the decision also gives Parliament a one-year reprieve to respond with new legislation.
Prostitution isn't illegal in Canada, but many of the activities associated with prostitution are classified as criminal offences.
The high court struck down all three prostitution-related laws: against keeping a brothel, living on the avails of prostitution, and street soliciting. The landmark ruling comes 34 years after the Supreme Court last upheld the country's anti-prostitution laws.
Ontario's Appeal Court had previously struck down the ban on brothels on the grounds it exposed women to more danger.
The federal government appealed the decision that invalidated or altered the laws, while a group of sex-trade workers who brought the case initially appealed the soliciting ban.