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JUST Committee Report

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The approximately 300 witnesses who appeared before the Subcommittee across Canada presented us with a variety of recommendations and proposed legal approaches for dealing with the issue of adult prostitution. Despite the wide divergence of views heard, two broad conflicting perspectives did emerge from this testimony concerning the very basic nature of prostitution. All of the important prostitution reform initiatives that have taken place around the globe can be traced back to one or the other of these competing philosophical views. Any made-in-Canada solution will necessarily have to choose between these views, and from that, derive a legal and social model tailored to the needs of our society.

The divergence between the models is philosophical. One sees prostitution as a form of violence against women — a form of exploitation in and of itself. The second sees prostitution among consenting adults as a form of work. This chapter will explore these two approaches and the various ways that they have been applied in countries around the world.


1. Overview

The first of these two approaches is based on the perception that all prostitution is a form of violence, and by extension, that one can never choose to sell sexual services. As a result, the law must strive to eliminate all forms of prostitution. Two broad legal solutions emerge from this approach: strengthening the law, and changing the law to penalize only clients and pimps. Only a very small number of individuals appearing before the Subcommittee proposed strengthening the current law and its enforcement in order to combat all aspects of prostitution. The goal of such a model would be to ensure that persons selling sexual services are incarcerated or pushed towards exit strategies, while strict enforcement and sentencing are used against clients and pimps in order to reduce exploitation, abuse, and prostitution itself, and through that, to reduce harm to communities236

By contrast, changing the law to penalize only clients and pimps was advocated by a significant number of witnesses.237 This approach is based on the legal model adopted in Sweden in 1999. It views prostitution as exploitation and a human rights violation akin to slavery — an individual can never consent to prostitution. In other words, consent is irrelevant. This approach argues that prostitution promotes the commodification of women and strips them of their human dignity. Prostitution is an obstacle to sexual equality. Proponents state that those who purport to choose prostitution have in fact been forced into it because they did not have any other options (due to poverty, current and past living conditions involving violence, sexual assault, etc.). As a result, any form of prostitution can be equated with trafficking in persons. Gunilla Ekberg, Special Advisor on Issues Regarding Prostitution and Trafficking in Human Beings to the Government of Sweden noted in her testimony that:

In Sweden, prostitution and trafficking in human beings for sexual purposes are seen as issues that cannot and should not be separated. Both are harmful, intrinsically linked practices.238

She stated that the overwhelming goal of traffickers is to sell individuals into prostitution.

The Swedish model argues that it is society’s responsibility to outlaw the purchase of sexual services through the use of Criminal Code provisions in order to provide support to women who are victims of sexual exploitation and of inequality between men and women. Persons selling sexual services should be treated as victims of crime and should never be criminalized themselves. Society must accordingly provide enhanced options for those working in prostitution by introducing social and economic reforms and programs making it easier for them to exit the trade and reintegrate into society.

These witnesses argued that the focus of the law should be trained on tackling the demand for prostitution. Witnesses such as Gunilla Ekberg argued that without men’s demand for prostitution, the industry would fail. Thus, those who exploit prostitutes or who abuse them by creating the demand for prostitution must be criminalized. The view is that creating harsh penalties for clients will reduce demand and thus reduce prostitution in the long run, while strengthening the law against pimps will reduce the supply side of the equation in an attempt to eliminate organized crime and trafficking in persons.

2. Application of the Law

Sweden’s legal model came into force in 1999. Encompassing all forms of prostitution (indoor and outdoor), the law ensures that those selling sexual services are never criminalized, while clients and pimps are specifically targeted by the criminal law. Yet even for clients and pimps, the penalties are not elevated in comparison with Canadian standards. Individuals who obtain or attempt to obtain a casual sexual relation in exchange for payment are liable to a fine or imprisonment for up to six months.239 Anyone who promotes or encourages or improperly exploits for commercial purposes casual sexual relations entered into by another person in exchange for payment is liable to imprisonment for up to four years. An individual found guilty of aggravated procurement — considering the extent of the operation, the gain or the exploitation of the individual — is liable to between two and eight years’ imprisonment.

Gunilla Ekberg emphasized that this relatively low sentencing scheme is consistent with Sweden’s broader approach to criminal law, in which the harshest sentence contained in the Penal Code is 10 years. Michèle Roy, Spokesperson for the Regroupement québécois des Centres d'aide et de lutte conte les agressions à caractère sexuel, also noted that in Sweden, the budget for social programs is six times higher than that for law enforcement. The government traditionally focuses its energies on support services, public awareness campaigns, reporting, and reintegration. Certainly, Sweden’s approach to prostitution has been implemented in conjunction with an extensive education strategy aimed at clients and the general public, raising awareness of the negative consequences of prostitution.

Like many of the models reviewed in this chapter, the impact of the Swedish law has been difficult to ascertain. Advocates of this approach pointed to significant reductions in prostitution in the country, while others argued that the industry had simply gone underground since implementation of the new measures. Even Swedish government reports on the impact of the law were unable to draw a clear picture. A report by the Working Group on the Legal Regulation of the Purchase of Sexual Services released by the Swedish Ministry of Justice and the Police240 and a report by the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare,241 both released in October 2004, noted that statistics are highly uncertain and that it is not possible to form an exact picture of prostitution in Sweden.

Proponents of the Swedish approach, such as Yolande Geadah, author and researcher, argued that Sweden “is the only country that has truly succeeded in protecting and guaranteeing the safety of female prostitutes.”242

Witnesses pointed to statistics indicating that prostitution has been halved since the law was introduced. Gunilla Ekberg pointed out that before the law there were 2,500 to 3,000 individuals selling sexual services in Sweden with 650 on the streets. Today there are approximately 1,500 persons selling sexual services with no more than 350 to 400 involved in street prostitution. This, in a total population of nine million. Sweden’s National Board of Health and Welfare notes that the number of individuals selling sexual services has certainly decreased in major city centres. Research presented to the Subcommittee by the Prostitution Awareness and Action Foundation of Edmonton indicates that the law is seen as a deterrent, that groups working with prostitutes are indicating that more individuals are coming to them for assistance in exiting prostitution, and that a good number have left the trade permanently.243 A document referred to us by PIVOT Legal Society notes that there has been a decrease in the recruitment of children into the sex trade, and that some individuals selling sexual services have indicated that they now feel more comfortable reporting crimes to the police.244 Witnesses such as Laurie Ehler, Administrative Coordinator for the Elizabeth Fry Society in Nova Scotia, and Janice Raymond, Executive Coordinator of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, also referred to police reports indicating that prostitution in Sweden has not gone underground, and that prostitution has not increased in sex clubs, escort agencies, and brothels.

A number of witnesses also pointed to the apparent drop in the number of clients. Gunilla Ekberg cited statistics stating that 914 males were reported under the law between January 1999 and March 2005, and that 234 males were convicted of purchasing sexual services in the first five years of the law’s application. Laurie Ehler and Janice Raymond noted that 70% to 80% of clients had left “public places.”

Gunilla Ekberg argued that the Swedish law also appears to have had a chilling effect on trafficking in persons. She told us that the Swedish national rapporteur on trafficking in human beings estimates that between 400 and 600 women are trafficked into Sweden every year, compared to the thousands that are trafficked into neighbouring countries. The Swedish numbers have remained constant since the laws came into force. She also noted that the involvement of foreign women in street prostitution has almost come to an end. Janice Raymond commented that both police and non-governmental organizations believe that trafficking in persons is no longer financially advantageous in Sweden since implementation of the law.

Finally, Gunilla Ekberg informed the Subcommittee that opinion polls conducted in Sweden between 1999 and 2002 demonstrate that approximately 80% of the population supports the law prohibiting the sale of sexual services.

Not all witnesses agreed with this evaluation of the Swedish law.245 Critics voiced concerns that the Swedish approach is a paternalistic one that ignores issues of consent and choice. They argued that it is wrong to treat all persons selling sexual services as victims, and that it is futile to attempt to eradicate all prostitution rather than focussing on exploitation. These witnesses argued that under the Swedish law prostitution has not decreased, but has been pushed underground, putting prostitutes in more dangerous situations where they are increasingly vulnerable to pimps and violent clients. As evidence, they cite discussions with prostitutes in Sweden, and point to reports such as the Working Group on the Legal Regulation of the Purchase of Sexual Services’ report, which states that despite an immediate reduction in street prostitution after the law was implemented, the numbers have since stabilized, street prostitution having increased in Malmö and decreased in Gothenburg and Stockholm.246 The National Board of Health and Welfare also noted that although the number of persons selling sexual services seemed to have diminished in major urban centres after the law was introduced, numbers had not diminished on a national scale — the theory being prostitutes had left major urban centres and gone towards side streets in the suburbs. They argue that this means that persons selling sexual services have become more geographically and socially marginalized, and it is harder for services to get in touch with them. These reports also emphasized increasing use of cell phones and the Internet, suggesting that prostitution did not disappear, it has just adapted.

These witnesses247 argued that Swedish prostitutes feel endangered by the laws, and that because the industry has gone underground, the violence has increased. There are fewer safe places to work, there is limited time for screening clients, and only the more dangerous clients — who are not afraid of the law — remain. Because there is more competition and less money to be made, individuals selling sexual services are also more willing to take risks, for example, no longer insisting on the use of condoms. This fact is compounded by the fact that police look for condoms as evidence of prostitution, so prostitutes are less likely to carry them. Witnesses commented that individuals selling sexual services are also apprehensive about the legal protections afforded them under the new law and are thus less likely to report abusive clients to police. Because prostitutes must remain hidden, witnesses point out that informal networks between persons selling sexual services have weakened, increasing opportunities for abuse from dangerous clients or exploitative pimps. The Working Group on the Legal Regulation of the Purchase of Sexual Services points out that there is no documentary evidence from the hospitals or police indicating more violence directed towards prostitutes, but there is significant evidence indicating that the market has become tougher and more prone to violence.

Witnesses such as Katrina Pacey, Director of the PIVOT Legal Society, expressed concern that by pushing prostitution underground, the Swedish law is having a significant detrimental effect upon the most marginalized persons. A document referred to the Subcommittee by Frances Shaver also indicates that prostitutes live a marginalized existence in Sweden, making it potentially even harder for them to exit the trade. They are unable to live with partners because it is illegal to receive any of a prostitute’s income, and many individuals also fear loss of custody of their children if it is ever revealed that they sell sex.248

Finally, it is important to note difficulties with enforcement of the Swedish law. The Working Group on the Legal Regulation of the Purchase of Sexual Services noted that indoor prostitution is not a significant target of law enforcement in Sweden, as it is too resource intensive, although two thirds of prostitution in Sweden takes place indoors.249 Other commentators have observed the difficulty of prosecuting clients who must essentially be caught in the act to be charged. Evidence against pimps is also elusive, as it necessitates the cooperation of clients and persons selling sexual services, neither of which party is usually willing to reveal their activities to the police.250


The second of the two broad approaches to prostitution is founded on the perception that violence is not inherent in the sale of sexual services. A number of witnesses told the Subcommittee that although exploitation and coercion do exist in prostitution, they represent many who genuinely choose to sell sexual services for a living and contended that they should have the freedom to use their bodies as they wish. They saw the criminalization of prostitution between consenting adults as a violation of human rights. Proponents of this approach emphasized that they make a significant distinction between consensual sex between adults for consideration, and the exploitation of children and others forced into the prostitution. Trafficking in persons is one manifestation of such extreme exploitation. Witnesses argued that it is unrealistic to try to eradicate prostitution between consenting adults, and that, consequently, it is important to create conditions that are most conducive to safety and respect for the rights of those in the trade, while providing services and exit strategies for those exploited within it or wishing to leave. Those supporting this position agreed that section 213 of the Criminal Code is not working and would like to see it repealed. Two broad legislative solutions emerge from this approach: decriminalization, and legalization/regulation.

1. Decriminalization

(a) Overview

The decriminalization model was advocated by a significant number of witnesses, calling for repeal of many of the prostitution-related provisions from the Criminal Code.251 This approach is based on the view that prostitution will never disappear, that some individuals do choose to enter into the trade, and that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with the adult exchange of sex for money provided that there is no exploitation involved. As a result, these witnesses favoured creating an environment that protects prostitutes’ rights as human beings — citizens like any other.

Those advocating decriminalization ultimately wish to ensure that prostitution is not treated differently from other professions. They advocate the establishment of an effective support network and exit strategies for those who are exploited or who have not freely chosen to be where they are, while ensuring that the same network of laws that apply to all other citizens apply to the sex trade and those selling sexual services.

If implemented in Canada, decriminalization would involve significant repeal of prostitution-related provisions in the Criminal Code. For some, this would involve repealing sections 210 and 213, as neither of these provisions targets exploitation but rather criminalizes the every day lives of those selling sexual services. Section 212 could be kept to protect children and prostitutes from exploitation. Other witnesses called for repeal of all or part of section 212 as well. Ultimately, proponents of decriminalization argued that the Criminal Code is replete with provisions that can already be used to effectively protect all adults and children from abuse, and that the prostitution-related provisions are redundant. For adults, these pre-existing Criminal Code provisions include assault, sexual assault, kidnapping, forcible confinement, intimidation, uttering threats, robbery, theft, extortion, and trafficking in persons. For communities, these provisions include causing a disturbance, loitering, common nuisance, criminal harassment, indecent exhibition, and organized crime.

(b) Application of the Law

i) In Other Countries

Very few models of decriminalization exist in the world, however, witnesses frequently pointed to New Zealand and the state of New South Wales in Australia as examples of what they were advocating.

New Zealand’s Prostitution Reform Act came into force in 2003 with the goal of creating a framework to safeguard the human rights of persons selling sexual services and to protect them from exploitation, to promote their welfare and occupational health and safety, to bolster public health, and to prohibit the commercial sexual exploitation of children. The new law eliminated criminal laws that outlawed indoor and outdoor prostitution among adults in an attempt to accept the reality that prostitution exists and to minimize the harm involved, while ensuring that criminal laws that deal with exploitation, abuse, and the commercial sexual exploitation of children remained. Street prostitution is now tolerated and independent prostitutes are unregulated by the state. There are no “red light districts”. In terms of indoor prostitution, up to four individuals selling sexual services may now operate from the same location without a licence. However, more than four individuals working together or for a third party must be licensed and regulated. There is no restriction on the number of individuals that can work for one operator. Operator certificates are both granted and held by the Registrar of the Court, and the identity of these individuals remains confidential — lists of registered operators cannot even be accessed by the police.252

In New Zealand, local districts are now responsible for the regulation of indoor prostitution within their jurisdictions, creating regulations surrounding zoning, licensing and advertising. These regulations are only constrained by the fact that they must be within the jurisdiction of the district to make, must not be repugnant to general laws of New Zealand, and must be reasonable. Among other things, districts may create bylaws to control offensive behaviour associated with prostitution, as long as these bylaws do not prohibit prostitution all together. Offensive behaviour is also dealt with through the Summary Offences Act.

Other generic laws regulating businesses are also now applicable, with some special provisions determining issues such as age limits and constraints on who can sell sexual services or own, finance, operate or manage a prostitution business. Occupational health and safety codes have been expanded to include prostitution, and inspectors have the authority to enter a premises believed to be a prostitution business at any reasonable time to ensure compliance with the Health and Safety in Employment Act, and to ensure that the operation, prostitutes and clients have adopted safe sex practices. Such safe sex practices entail individuals involved taking all reasonable steps to ensure that condoms are used, and employers making free condoms accessible. As well, operators must provide health information to persons selling sexual services and their clients.253

It is important to note that the law explicitly states that an individual may not have welfare payments denied if he or she refuses to work in the prostitution industry. Legislation also addresses the issue of trafficking in persons by denying immigration permits to anyone who has or who intends to work in, invest in, or to operate a business of prostitution. Finally, the new legislation has strengthened penalties against exploitative practices, including harsh penalties for clients and operators surrounding the commercial exploitation of children.254

The state of New South Wales in Australia also decriminalized prostitution over 10 years ago, in 1995. The only prostitution-related activities that remain regulated are:

  • Procurement offences — living on the earnings of a person selling sexual services (with an exemption for those who own or manage a brothel), and causing or inducing prostitution;

  • Advertising offences — using premises for prostitution that are portrayed as being available for massage, sauna baths, steam baths, or as facilities for exercise, or as photographic studios; and advertising for individuals selling sexual services or advertising that a premise is being used for prostitution;

  • Street solicitation — soliciting for prostitution near or within view of a dwelling, a school, a church, or a hospital.

However, despite the restrictions on street solicitation, street prostitution is legal and is complemented by the provision of safe houses where prostitutes can go with their clients. These houses provide rooms, showers, needle exchange, and condoms for a small fee paid by the client. Drug injection sites are also available. Like in New Zealand, local authorities are charged with licensing, regulating locations and implementing other policies with respect to indoor prostitution establishments. Despite the decriminalization of brothels, the Restricted Premises Act still ensures that indoor establishments creating a real nuisance for the surrounding neighbourhood may be shut down.255

A final example of decriminalization was mentioned by Paul Fraser in his discussion of the law in England. Although England has in no way decriminalized prostitution, a gap in the legislation provides another example of how the decriminalization model can apply on the ground. Essentially, in England brothels are illegal, but a brothel is defined as existing where more than one individual is working together to offer sexual services. Thus, provided that an individual selling sexual services is working alone in his or her home and is over 18, this activity is legal.256

ii) The Impact

The impact of these various decriminalization models is difficult to ascertain. The Subcommittee was provided with almost no statistical information about prostitution in New South Wales, and the legislation implemented in New Zealand is so new that few statistics were available tracking the impact of the law. A review process is currently being conducted by the Department of Justice in New Zealand, but those results are not yet available. When examining the impact of the law in New Zealand compared to Sweden’s law, it is important to note that New Zealand has an estimated 8,000 prostitutes in a population of almost four million,257 while Sweden implemented its new law with an estimated 2,500 to 3,000 prostitutes in a population of almost nine million.

Certainly witnesses in favour of the decriminalization model indicated that the number of individuals involved in street prostitution had not increased in New Zealand.258 Proponents argued that decriminalization reduced violence against persons selling sexual services by easing the stigma created by the criminalization of prostitution, thus reducing their vulnerability, and allowing sexual transactions to take place in a safer, more transparent environment. Valerie Scott, Member of the Sex Professionals of Canada noted that “Bad brothel owners don’t last long”259 in a decriminalized regime, while Jennifer Clamen of Stella and the Canadian Guild for Exotic Labour emphasized that in New Zealand the laws allow operators of brothels to be pursued for bad practices.260 It was unclear from the evidence whether violence has increased or decreased against persons selling sexual services in New Zealand.261 In New Zealand, prostitutes can now legally demand the use of condoms, and Valerie Scott pointed out that both police and the courts in New South Wales take reports of violence and exploitation very seriously. Ms. Scott noted that in 2003 there was only one report of a “bad date” in Sydney, a case in which the prostitute’s purse was stolen. Witnesses emphasized that decriminalization allows police more time for investigations and enhancing cooperation and collaboration with persons selling sexual services. Katrina Pacey also pointed out that the new law in New Zealand has opened dialogue between individuals involved in prostitution and communities, while others noted that there appears to be broad public acceptance of the new law’s approach to adult prostitution, although some municipalities are trying to get around it by imposing restrictive laws in their districts.

However, not all witnesses agreed with this evaluation of the decriminalization model as applied in New Zealand and Australia.262 A number pointed out that decriminalization has increased prostitution in the countries where it has been implemented. Yolande Geadah and Laurie Ehler told the Subcommittee that four years after implementation of the law in New South Wales the number of brothels in Sydney had tripled. By 1999 there were 400 to 500 brothels operating in Sydney, mostly unlicensed, and thus, illegal. A July 2005 report released by Manukau City, the second largest city in New Zealand, estimated that the number of persons selling sexual services at the street level has quadrupled since implementation of the law.263 In addition, witnesses such as Melissa Farley of Prostitution Research and Education and Janice Raymond indicated that organized crime had increased dramatically in New Zealand, while trafficking in persons had not declined. Janice Raymond suggested that child prostitution was also on the rise. As well, a number of witnesses pointed to the important link between drugs and prostitution in Sydney, particularly at Kings Cross, the largest zone of street level prostitution in New South Wales.264 These witnesses noted that decriminalization legitimates prostitution, bringing it too close to mainstream society. They expressed concern for communities dealing with prostitution in their neighbourhoods and with respect to the normalization of prostitution as just another form of work. For those who viewed all prostitution as violence against women, decriminalization was an unacceptable solution for Canada.

2. Legalization/Regulation

Within this broader approach, only a very small group of individuals appearing before the Subcommittee proposed the regulation, or legalization, of prostitution. Unlike decriminalization, which involves the repeal of criminal laws surrounding adult prostitution, leaving other laws to apply as they would to any other context, legalization involves repeal of criminal laws accompanied by regulation of the trade. Models of legalization take many forms — prostitution is generally permitted in certain defined forms, and accompanied by registration, and various other rules and laws that apply only to prostitution-related activities, such as rigorous health checks and zoning requirements. The aim is control of prostitution rather than criminalization or repeal of the criminal laws. In a sense, this is the meeting point between criminalization and decriminalization.

Legalization models have been adopted in jurisdictions such as Germany, parts of Nevada, and some states in Australia (eg. Victoria, Queensland, the Northern Territory, and the Australian Capital Territory). The most famous example of legalization exists in the Netherlands, where prostitution has been relatively accepted under the law for much of the last century. The red light district in Amsterdam is a well-known tourist destination. In 2000, the Dutch government pushed its laws further, repealing all sections of the Penal Code related to adult prostitution, effectively legalizing the sale and purchase of sexual services, while at the same time increasing penalties against pimps, particularly with respect to the sexual exploitation of children. Adult European Union residents who sell sexual services in the Netherlands and who register with the authorities are now considered to be salaried (those who work in legal brothels) or self-employed workers with the same social, legal, and labour rights and obligation as other citizens. They receive social benefits, pay taxes and are subject to the Working Conditions Act and most other legislation that applies to businesses.

Local authorities regulate the conditions under which prostitution takes place in the Netherlands, including dealing with licensing and health and safety regulations, and controlling the location and the size of establishments. Police conduct frequent patrols of brothels, which must not interfere with or disrupt public life. Local authorities have also established tolerance zones for street prostitution, which are often complemented by a lounge for individuals selling sexual services to shower and rest, obtain coffee, and speak to a counsellor if needed. Street prostitution outside of these zones is a criminal offence. Finally, medical checkups are not compulsory in the Netherlands, but are strongly encouraged.265

The evidence emerging from the Netherlands is conflicting, as some reports note a rise in large brothels, drugs, exploitation of children, and organized crime, while others claim that it is difficult to tell the impact of the law. Witnesses noted that full legalization appears to have led to a massive expansion of prostitution — particularly unregulated prostitutes operating in the underground industry.266 Due to concerns about the stigma of being officially recognized as a prostitute (including difficulty in accessing bank loans, day care, etc.267), only 4% of individuals selling sexual services in the Netherlands have registered with the authorities. Ninety-six percent thus operate illegally, underground. Not only does the concept of prostitute registration not appear to be working, but the tolerance zones established to protect individuals selling sexual services at the street level have not always proven effective. By late 2003, the Amsterdam city council decided to close its tolerance zone for street prostitution. Unlike zones in many other cities, this one was located outside the city centre and prostitutes were bussed in daily. According to the mayor, it had become impossible to create a safe and controllable area where women would not be abused by members of organized crime groups. Observers have commented that the intensely regulated nature of the tolerance zone did not suit the lifestyle of persons selling sexual services at the street level, many of whom are drug addicted and unwilling or unable to travel to organized prostitution zones far from the city centre. Many such individuals continued to sell sexual services illegally outside the zone.268

Other witnesses told the Subcommittee that legalization has not alleviated violence against individuals selling sexual services — violence may have even increased. Although pimps may have disappeared from legal brothels and shop windows, they have moved into the tolerance zones, escort businesses, and bars.269 Increasingly vulnerable populations are also being noticed in prostitution. The Child Rights Organization in Amsterdam estimates that the number of children exploited through prostitution in the Netherlands has increased by 11,000 since 1996.270 The number of foreign prostitutes has also increased, a fact that many feel indicates an increase in trafficking in persons, although others argue that it is due to the enhanced protections for persons selling sexual services in the Netherlands. Before the 2000 legal reform, two thirds of individuals selling sexual services in the Netherlands were non-Dutch. Today, it is estimated that between 80% to 85% of prostitutes in Amsterdam are non-Dutch and that between 70% to 75% have no papers.271 Based on this evidence, individuals selling sexual services, academics, law enforcement agencies, and others appearing before the Subcommittee almost uniformly condemned the possibility of looking to the legalization/regulation model for a made-in-Canada solution.272

236To this end, witnesses generally suggested making section 212, or sections 212 and 213, a hybrid offence with the potential for mandatory minimum sentences. This approach also approves of provincial laws allowing for impoundment of client’s vehicles and advocates particularly strict penalties for those exploiting children through prostitution.
237Including Gunilla Ekberg, Yolande Geadah, Lyne Kurtzman, Janice Raymond, Richard Poulin, Janet Epp Buckingham, Laurie Ehler, Michèle Roy.
238Gunilla Ekberg, Special Advisor, Issues Regarding Prostitution and Trafficking in Human Beings, Government of Sweden, testimony before the Subcommittee, 4 May 2005.
239Gunilla Ekberg noted that if another person has promised to give or has given compensation for the purchase of a casual sexual service, he may be punished as an accomplice.
240Working Group on the Legal Regulation of the Purchase of Sexual Services, “Purchasing Sexual Services in Sweden and the Netherlands: Legal Regulation and Experiences” Swedish Ministry of Justice and the Police, 8 October, 2004, available at:
241Socialstyrelsen, “Prostitution in Sweden 2003: Knowledge, Beliefs & Attitudes of Key Informants” October 2004, available at
242Yolande Geadah, Independent Author and Researcher, testimony before the Subcommittee, 7 February 2005.
243D. Scharie Tavcer, “An Analysis of Five Countries that Have Reformed Prostitution Legislation: Looking at Legislation and Responses Within Australia, Belgium, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Sweden” June 2004, available at:
244Judith Kilvington, Sophie Day, Helen Ward, “European Prostitution Policy: A Time of Change?” (2001)67 Feminist Review 78, available at
245Including Frances Shaver, Anna-Louise Crago, Ellen Woodsworth, Jacqueline Lewis, Leslie Ann Jeffrey, Katrina Pacey, and Christine Bruckert.
246Report of the Working Group on the Legal Regulation of the Purchase of Sexual Services.
247Including Frances Shaver, Anna-Louise Crago, Ellen Woodsworth, Jacqueline Lewis, Leslie Ann Jeffrey, Katrina Pacey, and Christine Bruckert.
248Petra Östergren, “Sex Workers Critique of Swedish Prostitution Policy” 2004, available at:
249Report of the Working Group on the Legal Regulation of the Purchase of Sexual Services.
250D. Scharie Tavcer, “An Analysis of Five Countries that Have Reformed Prostitution Legislation: Looking at Legislation and Responses Within Australia, Belgium, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Sweden”.
251Including Jennifer Clamen, Valerie Scott, Katrina Pacey, Eleanor Maticka-Tyndale, Frances Shaver, and Kara Gillies.
252Local Government New Zealand, “Prostitution Reform Act Guidelines” 2003.
253Occupational Safety and Health Service, “A Guide to Occupational Health and Safety in the New Zealand Sex Industry” Department of Labour, June 2004, available at:; Local Government New Zealand, “Prostitution Reform Act Guidelines”.
254Katrina Pacey, Direct, PIVOT Legal Society, testimony before the Subcommittee, 29 March 2005; Local Government New Zealand, “Prostitution Reform Act Guidelines”.
255Valerie Scott, Member, Sex Professionals of Canada, testimony before the Subcommittee, 15 March 2005; William Fisher, High Commissioner, Australian High Commission, testimony before the Subcommittee, 9 May 2005.
256UK Home Office “Paying the Price: A Consultation Paper on Prostitution” July 2004, available at:; Paul Fraser, Lawyer and Chair of the Special Committee on Pornography and Prostitution, Department of Justice, from 1983 to 1985, testimony before the Subcommittee, 2 February 2005. However, there are a number of caveats to this blanket statement. Firstly, if more than one person provides sexual services within that property, whether or not they are working at the same time, the activity becomes illegal — such an arrangement would be classified as a brothel. As well, if rooms in a particular building are let out to more than one person offering sexual services, this will be considered a brothel if it can be proven that the individuals are effectively working together.
257D. Scharie Tavcer, “An Analysis of Five Countries that Have Reformed Prostitution Legislation: Looking at Legislation and Responses Within Australia, Belgium, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Sweden”.
258In particular, see brief submitted by Jennifer Clamen.
259Valerie Scott, Member, Sex Professionals of Canada, testimony before the Subcommittee, 15 March 2005.
260Brief submitted by Jennifer Clamen.
261The only comment that the Subcommittee received on this issue was from Eleanor Maticka-Tyndale, Professor at the University of Windsor, who noted that there may be evidence that violence has decreased against persons selling sexual services in New Zealand.
262Including Yolande Geadah, Laurie Ehler, Melissa Farley, Janice Raymond, and Shannon Ross Watson.
263Manukau City Council, “Report of Manukau City Council on Street Prostitution Control” July 2005, available at
264Laurie Ehler, Administrative Coordinator, Elizabeth Fry Society, testimony before the Subcommittee, 17 March 2005; Shannon Ross Watson, Individual, testimony before the Subcommittee, 31 March 2005; William Fisher, High Commissioner, Australian High Commission, testimony before the Subcommittee, 9 May 2005.
265Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “Dutch Policy on Prostitution: Questions and Answers 2004” 2004, available at
266In the Netherlands, it is important to again note that before the 2000 legal reform there were approximately 25,000 individuals selling sexual services in a total population of 16 million. This is a significantly higher ratio of prostitutes than in Sweden, although it is lower than that in New Zealand.
267Kara Gillies, President, Maggie’s: the Toronto Prostitutes’ Community Service Centre, testimony before the Subcommittee, 2 May 2005.
268Yolande Geadah, Independent Author and Researcher, testimony before the Subcommittee, 7 February 2005; Report of the Working Group on the Legal Regulation of the Purchase of Sexual Services; Janice Raymond, Executive Coordinator, Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, testimony before the Subcommittee, 4 April 2005.
269Report of the Working Group on the Legal Regulation of the Purchase of Sexual Services; Kara Gillies, President, Maggie’s: the Toronto Prostitutes’ Community Service Centre, testimony before the Subcommittee, 2 May 2005.
270Yolande Geadah, Independent Author and Researcher, testimony before the Subcommittee, 7 February 2005.
271Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “Dutch Policy on Prostitution: Questions and Answers 2004”; Report of the Working Group on the Legal Regulation of the Purchase of Sexual Services; Yolande Geadah, Independent Author and Researcher, testimony before the Subcommittee, 7 February 2005; Laurie Ehler, Administrative Coordinator, Elizabeth Fry Society, testimony before the Subcommittee, 17 March 2005.
272Including Yolande Geadah, Laurie Ehler, Suzanne Jay, Janice Raymond, Melissa Farley, Hermina Dykxhoorn, Richard Poulin, Gunilla Ekberg, Kara Gillies, and Catherine William-Jones.