Quebec dating laws
In that landmark decision, brought down in 2013, Canada’s highest court tossed out several criminal code provisions related to the sale of sex on the grounds they violated sex workers rights to security under the Charter.
The court suspended that ruling for 12 months, however, giving the federal government time to craft a new set of, in some ways, even more restrictive laws around sex work.
“But when [the Johns] get to them in the hotel room, they can actually see that they’re a lot younger. And they’ll say, listen, I’m leaving, but I’m going to the police.”Atchinson says that, under the new laws, that may be less likely to happen.
In one recent survey, he asked Johns if they’d report abuse if they saw it. But among those who wouldn’t, the number one reason they gave was fear of arrest or exposure.
Raven, a name she uses professionally, started selling sex in Winnipeg about a year ago. “People are worried about being busted.”Four months after the federal government brought into force new laws aimed at ending prostitution in this country, the vast grey market for sexual services in Canada remains, unsurprisingly, intact.
Clients are becoming more cautious, she believes, and advertising more discreet.
In Victoria, too, the “new laws have not changed how we deal with street workers in our jurisdiction,” says Const. “Our approach is one of working collaboratively with outreach agencies and the workers themselves to ensure their safety.”That attitude reflects a sea change in policing in some Canadian cities that predates the Bill C-36 era, says Cecilia Benoit, a professor of Sociology at the University of Victoria and one of the lead researchers behind Understanding Sex Work, perhaps the most comprehensive academic study on the topic ever undertaken in Canada.
Bill C-36, for the first time in Canada, explicitly outlawed the buying, but not the selling of sex.
It also gave police new powers to prosecute those who advertise sex work and those who exploit or otherwise make money off sex workers in all but a few limited cases.
“I came into this recently with my eyes wide open.”What seems to exist more than anything among the women interviewed for this story is uncertainty over what exactly the new laws mean and how police plan to enforce them.
But police departments contacted across the country indicate little or no change – so far. The department will still only charge sex trade workers “as a last resort,” Mackid wrote.For Atchison, the worry is that, as the industry recalibrates, it will reform in ways that are less open and thus less safe for sex workers and clients alike.