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Hamad Anwar and Tiffany Harvey face more than two dozen sex-related charges each, including profiting from the sex trade, advertising sexual services and forcing someone into the sex trade. In November , the two accused were charged after London police raided the escort agency where they worked, Fantasy World Escorts, following a seven month investigation. The Crown prosecution takes the position that the new prostitution laws protect women by decriminalizing the sale of sex, but penalize the purchase of it and consequently reduce the demand.
They take the position that the specific charges of procuring, advertising and materially benefiting from the sexual services of someone else should be struck down. The defence called academic, Chris Atchison, as their first expert witness. He gave evidence that the new prostitution laws make it less safe for people in the sex trade to do their jobs.
The Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, held that the laws prohibiting bawdy houses, living off the benefits of prostitution and communicating in public with clients infringed the rights of prostitutes by depriving them of security of the person. The Supreme Court gave the government one year to draft new laws that would not infringe on the constitutional rights of prostitutes.
Prostitution is legal in Canada, however, under Bill C several activities surrounding it are criminalized. Bill C came into force on December 6, , encompassing prostitution and human trafficking-related amendments. The new law criminalizes the advertising and buying of sex, but decriminalizes the sale of sex. The Bill specifically targets the buyers of sex, with penalties including jail time up to five years in some cases and minimum cash fines that increase after a first offence.
Authorities anticipated that Bill C would be challenged in court at some point. Advocates who support the new laws appreciate that it punishes those individuals who buy sex, not those who sell it. On the other hand, opponents of the new law feel that the legislation forces sex workers underground due to fear of arrest and criminalizes advertising sex.