Vancouver won't experience an explosion of prostitution or human trafficking during the 2010 Winter Olympics, says a study released Thursday.
Human Trafficking, Sex Work Safety and the 2010 Games by Frontline Consulting for the Sex Industry Worker Safety Action Group said academic studies and media reports linking mega-events with increases in prostitution and sexual
exploitation were based on unsubstantiated assumptions.
Neither the 2004 Athens Olympics nor the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany experienced any increase that could be attributed to their hallmark event.
The anticipated 40,000 cases of human trafficking for sexual exploitation failed to materialize at Germany 2006. The study said traffickers may not have been motivated to invest in a short, one-time event. Women and families were among the
international soccer fans, while males who attended did not have time, money or the inclination to visit prostitutes.
The report estimated up to 800 people are annually trafficked into Canada for sexual exploitation, but only five domestic trafficking convictions have ever happened in Canada.
It also noted that Vancouver does have a long history of street prostitution, despite laws that make it illegal to communicate for the purposes of prostitution, procuring or keeping a brothel.
The Salvation Army has said it is willing to meet with Vancouver sex workers who are up in arms about its new ad campaign that features graphic images they say depict all workers as sex slaves.
We're not afraid of talking to them or dealing with them, says Brian Venables, a BC Salvation Army spokesperson, told CTV.ca.
The campaign will carry on as planned, he said. We're not trying to hide. We've actually been trying to meet with them.
Some Vancouver sex workers say they are angry about the Truth Isn't Sexy campaign, which shows photos of women having their heads smashed into the ground or being strangled.
The campaign can be seen on public billboards, as well as on a dedicated website.
A coalition of sex trade worker advocacy groups says the campaign portrays all sex trade workers as human trafficking victims who didn't enter the sex trade by choice.
But Venables says the campaign is meant to focus on innocent victims who were kidnapped and forced into prostitution, and not meant to depict those who chose to enter the business. He says all the victim stories contained on the website are true:
There's some confusion. This isn't a campaign against prostitution. We're not passing judgment or making moral decisions. This campaign is about people who don't have any choice. When I look at the ads I always see slavery. I never see
prostitution, drugs, or organized crime, he said.
The Salvation Army said it launched the campaign in time for next year's Olympics, when it expects the number of human trafficking victims to increase. It says the influx of international visitors will lead to a jump in demand for sex
trade workers in Vancouver. Pacey says there is no evidence to show this will be the case.
Buying sex or trying to sell it in public areas where there are people under 18 can be found illegal and punishable by up to five years in prison under a sweeping new anti-prostitution law introduced in Canada's parliament. The government claims
that the new law promotes human dignity and equality, and protects vulnerable people.
A new offence of advertising sexual services would also be created, and police would be given new powers to seize voyeuristic materials, on obtaining permission from a judge.
Previous anti-prostitutions laws were struck down by the Supreme Court which found that these laws were unconstitutional and generated an unsafe environment for sex workers.
Justice Minister Peter MacKay called the new law a Canadian model. He claimed the bill would recognize:
The inherent dangers associated with prostitution, including many of the other real challenges in the country, including poverty, violence, addiction, mental health. And whatever we do legislatively will of course be accompanied with programming
aimed at helping women, predominantly women, exit prostitution.
A lawyer who helped persuade the Supreme Court to strike down the country's main prostitution laws said the new law doesn't answer the court's concerns about safety of sex workers. Alan Young, who teaches law at Osgoode Hall Law School, said
keeping prostitutes out of areas in which people under 18 are found, while also banning advertising of sexual services over the Internet, leaves them with no safe place.
At the end of the day it still raises the question of what is a safe forum for someone to legally sell sexual services. I think the government position is 'we don't want to provide a safe forum.' But that isn't really their call anymore.
Canada's government is fast-tracking a nasty Bill C-36 to criminalise people who buy sex. Here's a glance at what the government is proposing, and what critics say about the changes.
1. Going after the buyers
The bill criminalizes the buying of sex -- or obtain[ing] for consideration... the sexual services of a person. The penalties include jail time -- up to five years in some cases -- and minimum cash fines that go up after a first offence.
2. What's a sexual service ?
The bill doesn't say, meaning it would likely be up to a court to decide where the line was drawn. A government legal brief, submitted to the committee as it considered the bill, says the courts have found lap-dancing and masturbation in a
massage parlour? count as a sexual service or prostitution, but not stripping or the production of pornography.
3. What about sex workers?
They also face penalties under the bill, though the government says it is largely trying to go after the buyers of sex. Under the bill, it would be illegal for a sex worker to discuss the sale of sex in certain areas -- a government amendment
Tuesday appears set to reduce what areas would be protected -- and it would also be illegal for a person to get a material benefit from the sale of sexual services by anyone other than themselves. Some critics have warned that latter
clause could, for instance, prevent sex workers from working together, which some do to improve safety.
4. What about those who work with sex workers?
Anyone who receives a financial or other material benefit, knowing that it is obtained by or derived directly or indirectly from the sale of a sexual service, faces up to 10 years in prison. This excludes those who have a
legitimate living arrangement with a sex worker, those who receives the benefit as a result of a legal or moral obligation of the sex worker, those who sell the sex worker a service or good on the same terms to the general
public, and those who offer a private service to sex workers but do so for a fee proportionate to the service and so long as they do not counsel or encourage sex work.
5. Can sex workers advertise their services?
This is a key plank of the bill, which makes it a crime to knowingly advertise an offer to provide sexual services for consideration, or money. This could potentially include newspapers, such as weekly publications that include personal
ads from sex workers, or websites that publish similar ads. Justice Minister Peter MacKay appears to believe the ban could go after such publications. It affects all forms of advertising, including online. And anything that enables or furthers
what we think is an inherently dangerous practice of prostitution will be subject to prosecution, but the courts will determine what fits that definition, he told reporters after speaking to the committee July 7. This has been welcomed by
some, including Janine Benedet, an associate professor at the University of British Columbia who supports the bill overall, though she called for some changes. I didn't actually expect to see this advertising provision in this bill but I would
say it's actually a really important step, to say that kind of profiteering needs to stop, she said. ]
6. Can anyone still advertise the sale of sex?
Yes -- sex workers themselves. The bill includes an exemption that says no one will be prosecuted for an advertisement of their own sexual services, though platforms that actually knowingly run the ads may face prosecution.
10. What's the status of the bill?
Canada's current laws, struck down by the Court, officially expire in December, and the government has pledged to pass Bill C-36 by then.
The Canadian government's nasty prostitution bill passed in the House of Commons Monday night by a 156-124 vote.
Injustice Minister Peter MacKay was behind the new legislation, Bill C-36, and took the approach that it would criminalize the purchase of sex, but not its sale.
MacKay called his legislation a made in Canada approach and claimed that it was the best way to eliminate prostitution altogether. By allowing prostitutes to sell sexual services without fear of criminalization, the law won't prevent them
from implementing safety measures such as bodyguards, MacKay has said.
Under the previous law, prostitutes were effectively prohibited from hiring bodyguards because nobody was allowed to live off the avails of prostitution.