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Canada Federal government opens up prostitution law rewrite to public input

A woman holds a red umbrella, that are used as a symbol for sex workers rights, that reads "Sex Workers have their lust for their rights!" during a rally at Allan Gardens park to support Toronto sex workers and their rights in Toronto, Friday December 20, 2013. Canada's Supreme Court struck down on prostitution laws in a unanimous 9-0 ruling on Friday, giving Parliament a year to produce new legislation.

Mark Blinch/THE CANADIAN PRESS

The Conservative government wants to hear from Canadians about how to rewrite the country's prostitution laws after those laws were struck down by the Supreme Court late last year.

A month-long online consultation period on the Justice Canada website begins today and runs to March 17.

The high court gave the government one year to come up with new legislation, while existing laws that ban street soliciting, living on the avails of prostitution and keeping a brothel remain in the Criminal Code.

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Justice Minister Peter MacKay said earlier this month that the government had already started drafting new prostitution legislation, and planned to consult with police and provincial governments.

The Conservative government has made it clear that simply allowing the laws to lapse, effectively legalizing prostitution, is not an option.

However in the meantime, several provinces say they will not be prosecuting prostitution-related offences and that in some cases existing charges are being thrown out.

Those who wish to comment can do so through the Justice Department website.

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