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Thread: Parliamentary committee to consider changing prostitution laws

  1. #1
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    Parliamentary committee to consider changing prostitution laws

    The Parliamentary Subcommittee examining prostitution laws has been restarted, and begins meeting again on Jan. 31.

    Chair is John Maloney (Liberal from Ontario), Vice-Chair is Libby Davies (NDP from BC), other members are Hedy Fry (Liberal from BC), Paule Brunelle (BQ), and Art Hanger (although I wouldn't expect a Conservative from Calgary to be in favour of decriminalization).

    You can write letters to Members of Parliament urging decriminalization. Before you say "That will never happen", realize that New Zealand and most of Australia have already changed their laws, which were formerly very much like Canada's, to decriminalize brothels.

    It's important to let them know what we want, because there will be the religious zealots and the anti-sex trade element of feminists advocating a total prohibition similar to Sweden. Here is what they heard about Sweden in NZ (from speech by Member of Parliament Sue Bradford).
    Nor should we turn to the Swedish model which prosecutes the men who pay for sex. The Swedish experience shows that all this does is drive prostitution underground...

    While on the Select Committee we heard evidence from a sex worker in Sweden who talked about the much greater physical dangers she and others now face as a result of the law change there. She reported that some of the worst consequences of the Swedish law have been that there is a lot more underage teenage prostitution, that the mafia bosses have more control, and that workers are too scared to get police help even when friends are murdered because if it gets out that they've called the cops, they lose all their customers.
    The committees and debates lasted nearly three years in NZ before decriminalization passed by one vote.

    *Edit - I received a response from John Maloney's office to an e-mail that I had sent last month. The committee will be examining the reforms made in New Zealand, as well as other countries.
    Last edited by HaywoodJabloemy; 02-01-2005 at 02:13 PM.

  2. #2
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    I think that "decriminalization" or "legalization" of prostitution is eventually going to be a reality in Canada (within 10 years maybe). For me, it's a matter of common sense. You're talking about the world's "oldest profession", one which has always existed and which will never disappear considering who we are as humans. Therefore, i think the best way to approach this issue is by being pragmatic and, as a society, admitting at once this reality. This way, the government will be able to list all providers and brothels, and collect income taxes as well as establish systematic medical care programs for providers that would include such aspects as prevention, education, evaluation, screening, blood tests and follow-up.

    Such legalization wil improve the health and wellness of sps and of the population as a whole, as well as cutting down on criminality. I guess the only downside is that the girls will have to be filed or listed, which in turn can potentially subject them to prejudices since their occupation-or history of- will be "publically" known. But then again, if such an occupation becomes legal, then those who would still be inclined to denigrate the occupation might end up belonging more to a minority group, one which won't have any legal gounds anymore on which to base its criticisms.

    fml
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    I encourage you all to write your local MP and share your thoughts.... Pierre Elliot Trudeau got the law out of our bedrooms. Now we need to get them out of our beds!

    To see the current laws:http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/C-46/42053.html

    take the time to read it and you will find some strange laws that really need to be removed from the books, and others that need to be re-written for the good of working girls, clients and the general population.

    Ronnie,
    Naughtylady
    They will forget what you said,
    they will forget what you did,
    but they will never forget the way you made them feel.

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    Government

    A dream for some people.
    Surviving right now is on the agenda!
    Nothing else.
    Prostitution, forget about it!
    Next decade may be!

  5. #5
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    I know that. I already decare what I earn and pay my income tax.

    Lawless>> Prostitution is already legal in Canada. It is the laws surrounding it that need to be changed. Specifically art.213, 212, 211, and 210. Check out that link.

    Ronnie,
    Naughtylady
    Last edited by naughtylady; 02-06-2005 at 03:25 AM.
    They will forget what you said,
    they will forget what you did,
    but they will never forget the way you made them feel.

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    Ronnie,
    Forget about amendments to the Code in any near future, other more urgent items are on the agenda!
    You may have to review your understanding of "prostitution"!
    Another decade, may be....

  7. #7
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    So why do they have it on the agenda? They have been talking about it for the past 10 years or so, but only now have they created the committee and put it on the agenda?
    It was only after th BC serial killer was caught that they finally began to take us seriously when we say that the current laws put us more at risk than protect us. Only after this guys trial that the comittee was formed. Think about that. Finally public attention and our lobbiests told the government the same thing, we need some changes.
    There will always be other things on the agenda. It wont wait untill there is a lull politically, because there is always something pressing.

    Ronnie,
    Naughtylady
    They will forget what you said,
    they will forget what you did,
    but they will never forget the way you made them feel.

  8. #8
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    I hope the committee eventually plans to hear from someone representing the thousands of sex workers in this country, not just sociology professors.

    The laws here force sex workers to work in dangerous conditions, but there is one other important reason to change the laws.

    The countries that had (or still have) laws similar to Canada's have realized something the media and politicians in Canada never talk about. The laws are simply no longer enforced with any degree of sincerity.

    All of the escort agencies and massage parlours that are knowingly tolerated by police and licensed by cities obviously violate the "living off the avails of prostitution" and "keeping a common bawdy house" laws. This is a dishonest and likely corrupt situation. Police corruption inquiries in 2 Australian states found that the plain clothes cops had been getting payed off by these businesses for many years.
    The first thing that happened when you were at the Vice Squad, was you were taken round to collect what he called 'taxes' and 'fees' from working girls and brothels.
    In Britain
    Blunkett hinted in an article that brothels disguised as "legitimate" businesses such as massage parlours will no longer be tolerated
    From New Zealand
    "The state licenses massage parlours, knowing they are fronts for prostitution...there is no morality, no consistency in that."
    Yet in Canada we keep stupidly believing all the police and politicians who pretend the laws are still being enforced. See "How cities 'license' off-street hookers" from The Ottawa Citizen. But of course, there could never be corrupt police and politicians in Canada, right?

    * The committee is scheduled to be in Montréal on Wednesday March 16th.
    Last edited by HaywoodJabloemy; 02-21-2005 at 03:51 PM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptRenault
    A subcommittee of the House of Commons justice committee recently received more than $157,000 to travel with nine staff members...
    If they gave the $157,000 to fourteen MERBites, I bet we could find out a heck of a lot more than these jokers will.

    But maybe not in Edmonton or Winnipeg. Not sure I'd be interested in getting around to that part of the trip.

  10. #10

    Liberals vote to decriminalize prostitution

    At their March congress, the federal Liberal party voted the following resolution:

    85 - SEX WORKER RIGHTS

    WHEREAS officially the sex trade is not criminal;

    WHEREAS section 213 of the Criminal Code of Canada still forbids communicating for the purposes of sex trade-related acts;

    WHEREAS fear of ticketing and judicial consequences incurred from section 213 drive sex trade workers into dangerous and harmful locations;

    WHEREAS criminalizing acts related to the sex trade also perpetuates a negative social stigma surrounding sex trade workers;

    WHEREAS the sex trade is a profession central to the subsistence of many Canadian citizens who deserve the same workplace safety and social respect as any other member of our society;

    AND WHEREAS we must never again have the tragedy of 50 women missing from Vancouver’s downtown eastside without notice;

    BE IT RESOLVED that the Liberal Party of Canada support removal of section 213 of the Criminal Code of Canada.

    (Young Liberals of Canada)
    Last edited by joeblow; 03-13-2005 at 09:45 PM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by joeblow
    At their March congress, the federal Liberal party voted the following resolution:

    85 - SEX WORKER RIGHTS


    WHEREAS section 213 of the Criminal Code of Canada still forbids communicating for the purposes of sex trade-related acts;

    (Young Liberals of Canada)
    I'm confused.

    Martin said in a press conference after the convention that he wasn't ready to legalize prostitution, yet the commitee reviewing prostitution laws with the intent to broaden decriminalization is still in progress...

    The above mention about "communication" is up in the air for now i think. Expect perhaps that something will change in that regard because the government is really intent on better protecting our street workers.

    fml
    fml

  12. #12
    FML,

    The Criminal code has several sections dealing with prostitution of which section 213 is but one (Ronnie has explained all this in a thread somewhere...) By voting to remove 213 and by setting up the roaming subcommittee, my read is that the Liberals are signaling their intention to eventually decriminalize prostitution, without going the full distance at this time, however. As a minority government, I doubt they will take on another controversial, value loaded issue like prostitution, on top of gay marriages, before the next election, hence Martin's remarks.

  13. #13
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    Just to confuse you some more: Prostitution is legal in Canada and always has been. Martin is looking at section 213 in particular because of the serial murders in BC. These are the laws in question:

    Bawdy-houses

    Keeping common bawdy-house
    210. (1) Every one who keeps a common bawdy-house is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years.

    Landlord, inmate, etc.
    (2) Every one who

    (a) is an inmate of a common bawdy-house,

    (b) is found, without lawful excuse, in a common bawdy-house, or

    (c) as owner, landlord, lessor, tenant, occupier, agent or otherwise having charge or control of any place, knowingly permits the place or any part thereof to be let or used for the purposes of a common bawdy-house,

    is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

    Notice of conviction to be served on owner
    (3) Where a person is convicted of an offence under subsection (1), the court shall cause a notice of the conviction to be served on the owner, landlord or lessor of the place in respect of which the person is convicted or his agent, and the notice shall contain a statement to the effect that it is being served pursuant to this section.

    Duty of landlord on notice
    (4) Where a person on whom a notice is served under subsection (3) fails forthwith to exercise any right he may have to determine the tenancy or right of occupation of the person so convicted, and thereafter any person is convicted of an offence under subsection (1) in respect of the same premises, the person on whom the notice was served shall be deemed to have committed an offence under subsection (1) unless he proves that he has taken all reasonable steps to prevent the recurrence of the offence.

    R.S., c. C-34, s. 193.

    Transporting person to bawdy-house
    211. Every one who knowingly takes, transports, directs, or offers to take, transport or direct, any other person to a common bawdy-house is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

    R.S., c. C-34, s. 194.

    Procuring

    Procuring
    212. (1) Every one who

    (a) procures, attempts to procure or solicits a person to have illicit sexual intercourse with another person, whether in or out of Canada,

    (b) inveigles or entices a person who is not a prostitute to a common bawdy-house for the purpose of illicit sexual intercourse or prostitution,

    (c) knowingly conceals a person in a common bawdy-house,

    (d) procures or attempts to procure a person to become, whether in or out of Canada, a prostitute,

    (e) procures or attempts to procure a person to leave the usual place of abode of that person in Canada, if that place is not a common bawdy-house, with intent that the person may become an inmate or frequenter of a common bawdy-house, whether in or out of Canada,

    (f) on the arrival of a person in Canada, directs or causes that person to be directed or takes or causes that person to be taken, to a common bawdy-house,

    (g) procures a person to enter or leave Canada, for the purpose of prostitution,

    (h) for the purposes of gain, exercises control, direction or influence over the movements of a person in such manner as to show that he is aiding, abetting or compelling that person to engage in or carry on prostitution with any person or generally,

    (i) applies or administers to a person or causes that person to take any drug, intoxicating liquor, matter or thing with intent to stupefy or overpower that person in order thereby to enable any person to have illicit sexual intercourse with that person, or

    (j) lives wholly or in part on the avails of prostitution of another person,

    is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years.

    Idem
    (2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1)(j), every person who lives wholly or in part on the avails of prostitution of another person who is under the age of eighteen years is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years.

    Aggravated offence in relation to living on the avails of prostitution of a person under the age of eighteen years
    (2.1) Notwithstanding paragraph (1)(j) and subsection (2), every person who lives wholly or in part on the avails of prostitution of another person under the age of eighteen years, and who

    (a) for the purposes of profit, aids, abets, counsels or compels the person under that age to engage in or carry on prostitution with any person or generally, and

    (b) uses, threatens to use or attempts to use violence, intimidation or coercion in relation to the person under that age,

    is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years but not less than five years.

    Presumption
    (3) Evidence that a person lives with or is habitually in the company of a prostitute or lives in a common bawdy-house is, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, proof that the person lives on the avails of prostitution, for the purposes of paragraph (1)(j) and subsections (2) and (2.1).

    Offence -- prostitution of person under eighteen
    (4) Every person who, in any place, obtains for consideration, or communicates with anyone for the purpose of obtaining for consideration, the sexual services of a person who is under the age of eighteen years is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years.

    (5) [Repealed, 1999, c. 5, s. 8]

    R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 212; R.S., 1985, c. 19 (3rd Supp.), s. 9; 1997, c. 16, s. 2; 1999, c. 5, s. 8.

    Offence in Relation to Prostitution

    Offence in relation to prostitution
    213. (1) Every person who in a public place or in any place open to public view

    (a) stops or attempts to stop any motor vehicle,

    (b) impedes the free flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic or ingress to or egress from premises adjacent to that place, or

    (c) stops or attempts to stop any person or in any manner communicates or attempts to communicate with any person

    for the purpose of engaging in prostitution or of obtaining the sexual services of a prostitute is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

    Definition of "public place"
    (2) In this section, "public place" includes any place to which the public have access as of right or by invitation, express or implied, and any motor vehicle located in a public place or in any place open to public view.

    Ronnie,
    Naughtylady
    They will forget what you said,
    they will forget what you did,
    but they will never forget the way you made them feel.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by joeblow
    FML,

    The Criminal code has several sections dealing with prostitution of which section 213 is but one (Ronnie has explained all this in a thread somewhere...) By voting to remove 213 and by setting up the roaming subcommittee, my read is that the Liberals are signaling their intention to eventually decriminalize prostitution, without going the full distance at this time, however. As a minority government, I doubt they will take on another controversial, value loaded issue like prostitution, on top of gay marriages, before the next election, hence Martin's remarks.
    Like you say, JB, i think that section 213 is at the centre of the debate, for a lot of assaults on sps were committed on those working the streets by clients who had picked them up in their cars. My understanding is that government wants to come up with legislation that will protect the lives of the SW more specifically. My guess is that working the streets will still be illegal but the government will authorize bawdy houses.

    fml

    ps. thanks Ronnie
    Last edited by femaleluver2; 03-15-2005 at 08:08 AM.
    fml

  15. #15
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    There's an article in The Gazette today (unfortunately not available for free online) titled "MPs review prostitution laws"
    Former Conservative justice minister John Crosbie has come out in support of decriminalizing prostitution, saying it is the best way to deal with the growing violence and murder rates among the country's sex workers.
    He was Justice Minister when 213 was changed to its present form, in the 1980s when Brian Mulroney was PM.

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