Honey Harlotte
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Jack

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Apr 24, 2003
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I am enclosing the article in the Sun Newspaper this Saturday.
Saturday, October 11, 2003
Legal prostitution studied
MPs say legalizing and regulating sex trade would help save lives of hookers
By KATHLEEN HARRIS, OTTAWA BUREAU


OTTAWA -- Canada could scrap its outdated prostitution laws in a bid to better protect the health and safety of sex trade workers.

A group of MPs has quietly launched a study which could bring changes to the Criminal Code -- including wiping out the section that outlaws soliciting sex for cash. Regulating the industry could also be part of the legislative overhaul.

Liberal MP Hedy Fry, who is chairing the Commons justice and human rights subcommittee, said no formal study of the issue has been done in 18 years. In 1985, the Fraser committee concluded that Parliament should legalize communication for sex to regulate the industry.

The aim, Fry said, is to curb the harsh effects on communities and to end the exploitation of "invisible" women who work the streets.

"The objective at the end of the day is to ensure the safety and protection of sex trade workers -- whether they be youth or adults," she said.

The panel of MPs will seek input from academics and experts, but will also conduct outreach work, travelling to destinations for on-site input from street workers in Canada and places where prostitution is fully legal, such as Amsterdam.

"It is very important for us to talk to sex trade workers who may not want to come to committee," Fry said.

Prostitution has never been a crime in Canada, but laws prohibit taking money for sex. Running bawdy houses, procuring sex and communicating for prostitution are all illegal.

Canadian Alliance MP Chuck Cadman said public awareness and stiffer penalties for johns may help reduce the demand for prostitution. He sees it as a pressing social problem that overlaps with drug abuse, child exploitation and public health.

"The laws themselves are only one aspect of it," he said.

"In a lot of cases you may find the laws are adequate, but the enforcement, follow-up and social structures aren't adequate to pick up where the law leaves off."

But NDP MP Libby Davies said cracking down on prostitution doesn't work -- it only moves the problem to other areas. By making communication for sex illegal, women are pushed into dangerous areas.

"The Criminal Code itself is contributing to the risks that these women face," she said.

Davies' push for a review of Canada's prostitution law was inspired by the 61 women who went missing from Vancouver's downtown eastside. Pig farmer Robert Pickton has been charged with the murders of 15 of those missing women.

"I think if we ever counted up the dead bodies across the country of women who have been missing or murdered in the sex trade, it would be so horrendous people would be shocked," Davies said.

Hey, its time they legalize this. Write your govenment MP to see this happen soon!
 
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