The Many Lives of a “Win”: Canada (Attorney General) v. Downtown Eastside Sex Workers United Against Violence Society

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S. Priya Morley is an Arthur Helton Global Human Rights Fellow at NYU School of Law.

The Many Lives of a ‘Win’: Canada (Attorney General) v. Downtown Eastside Sex Workers United Against Violence Society considers the recent strategic litigation challenging Canada’s criminal laws surrounding sex work as unconstitutional. Although the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the laws, which was hailed as a ‘win’ for sex workers, the Conservative Party subsequently implemented the ‘Nordic model’ of asymmetrical criminalization. The Article traces through this recent history, and argues that although the litigation did not achieve the substantive ‘win’ that its proponents had hoped for, it has made a significant contribution to access to justice in Canada.

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