Bedford and prostitutes Valerie Scott and Amy Lebovitch took on the legal might of the federal and provincial governments, their battle waged on a shoestring legal aid budget and the volunteer services of expert witnesses and lawyers.
Scott said the decision means sex workers no longer have to “worry about being raped, robbed or murdered.”
Himel found Criminal Code prohibitions against keeping a common bawdy house, living on the avails of prostitution and communicating for the purposes of the trade violated the women’s Charter rights to freedom of expression and security of the person.
Rather than making prostitution itself illegal, the federal government has attempted to curtail the trade by criminalizing related activities.
Bedford, Scott and Lebovitch argued those prohibitions prevented them from conducting their business in the safety of their homes or brothels and forced them into hasty street conversations with potential customers, with no time to weed out those who might be dangerous.