Sunday, June 3

Prostitutes fund law challenge

According to a Commons subcommittee report in December, 171 female sex-trade workers were murdered from 1991 to 2004. Forty-five per cent of the cases remain unsolved. A 2006 Statistics Canada report said women in the sex trade are extremely vulnerable to violence that "often goes unnoticed."

A sex workers' advocacy group will launch a series of fundraising events tonight to support its constitutional challenge to Canada's prostitution laws.

Wendy Babcock, spokesperson of the Toronto-based Sex Professionals of Canada, said there is an "urban genocide" threatening thousands of sex-trade workers across the country.

"It's really important to fight violence against women, and violence against sex workers," she said. "I think this court challenge, if it wins, can actually save lives." The group is challenging three Criminal Code provisions that define illegal solicitations. Its case had first hearing Thursday in the Ontario Superior Court. Next court date is scheduled for Sept. 4.

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