Prostitution

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Contents

Introduction

Related Offences 

Escort Agencies

Public Indecency

Getting Arrested For Prostitution Charges

Undercover Police Officers

Photographs

COARSE

Prostitution Offender Program - John School

Protection of Sexually Exploited Children Act (PSECA) 

Where Can I Go For More Help or Information?

 

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Prostitution, receiving payment for sexual acts, is not always a crime if you are over 18 years old.  When someone has a date or “turns a trick” they are not breaking the law.  However, there are a number of related offences that ARE illegal. 

 

1. Communication for the Purposes of Prostitution (Section 213)

2. Obtaining Sexual Services for Consideration (Section 286.1)

3. Material Benefits for Sexual Services (Section 286.2)

4. Procuring (Section 286.3)

 

NOTE: This is new law and it is unknown how all of it will be applied, please speak to a lawyer if you have any questions about specific examples and how they will be understood.

 

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RELATED OFFENCES

 

1. Communication for the Purposes of Prostitution (Section 213)

 

Section 213 of the Criminal Code states that any person who stops or attempts to stop a motor vehicle, block the flow of traffic (which includes pedestrians or vehicles), to communicate for the purposes of offering, providing or obtaining sexual services of a prostitute in a public place or in any place open to a public view is guilty of an offence.

 

UPDATE: In November 2014 the Government of Canada amended Section 213 of the Criminal Code. The updated version makes it an offence for anyone to communicate for the purpose of offering or providing sexual services for consideration only: when it is done in a public place. This applies when that place is somewhere that people under the age of 18 can reasonably be expected to be found or when it is next to a place where people under the age of 18 can reasonably be expected to be found. This is new law and it is unclear how judges will understand it or what it will mean. 

 

Vocab:

Consideration means the exchange of sexual services in return for something of value, whether that is money or other goods in exchange. For example: drugs, clothes, food, electronics.

 

Communication for the purpose of prostitution is any attempt to:

Offer sex for payment or;

Offer payment for sex.

 

There are two main forms of communication:

 

a) Verbal Communication: Verbal communication is using words to say something, either by talking or in writing. 

For example: A person is breaking the law if they discuss the price of sex acts or the services to be performed. A person can still be charged even if:

 

The price is not fixed

The acts to be performed were not fixed

The communication does not end in sex (or a “date”)            

The communication takes place in a car, moving or not.

b) Non-Verbal Communication: Non-verbal communication includes gestures, body language, hand signals or other ways of communicating without words. This can be anything from a wink to waving arms or interrupting the movement of pedestrians or traffic. Police must prove that the person used the action to stop another person for the purposes of prostitution. For proof, the police look at facts like the time, place, past actions of the person stopping the car and other things going on in the area.

A person can be found guilty of communicating for the purposes of prostitution even where there has been no physical contact. Any communication for the purpose of sexual acts in exchange for payment is enough.

2. Obtaining Sexual Services for Consideration (Section 286.1)

UPDATE: It is an offence for anyone to pay another for sexual services. It is also an offence to communicate about exchanging sexual services for consideration. This applies to those people who are trying to obtain sexual services. This can be punishable as an offence no matter where it takes place. 

 

 

Consideration means the exchange of sexual services in return for something of value, whether that is money or other goods in exchange. 

The offence will have different punishments depending on where the exchange of services or communication took place and whether it is an indictable offence (more serious) or a summary conviction (less serious). See below:

 

Indictable Offence:  [more serious]  (S.286.1(1)(a))

If communication happened in a public place, or a place that can be seen by the public, and it is also a place where you can often find people under the age of 18 (or somewhere next door) the minimum fine for a 1st offence is $2000 and for each offence after that, it is $4000. 

If communication happened in a private place or a place where it would not be reasonable to expect people under the age of 18 to be, then the minimum fine for a 1st offence is $1000 and for each offence after that, it is $2000.

In BOTH situations, the maximum is 5 years imprisonment. 

Summary Conviction:  [less serious]  (S. 286.1(1)(b))

If communication happened in a public place, or a place that can be seen by the public, and it is also a place where you can often find people under the age of 18 (or somewhere next door) the minimum fine for a 1st offence is $1000 and for each offence after that, it is $2000. 

If communication happened in a private place or a place where it would not be reasonable to expect people under the age of 18 to be, then the minimum fine for a 1st offence is $500 and for each offence after that, it is $1000.

In BOTH situations, the maximum is 18 months imprisonment. 

Children:

Section 286.1(2) – if the sexual services come from someone who is under the age of 18 the offence will be an INDICTABLE OFFENCE with a maximum of 10 years imprisonment and a minimum of 6 months imprisonment if it is a 1st offence and 1 year imprisonment for every offence after the 1st. 

3. Material Benefit from Sexual Services (Section 286.2)

Section 286.2(1) makes it an offence for anyone to receive a material benefit, whether financial or other, when they know that the money or benefit came from obtaining sexual services for payment (even if it was only talked about and didn’t result in a “date”). 

Vocab: 

Material benefit means something that is received in return for sexual services. It does not have to be money, it could also be other things that were given in exchange such as food, clothing, drugs, or electronics. 

Over 18: 

If the sexual services came from someone over the age of 18, it will be an indictable offence with a maximum of 10 years imprisonment.

Under 18: (S.286.2(2))

If the sexual services came from someone under the age of 18, it will be an indictable offence with a maximum of 14 years and a minimum of 2 years.   

Section 286.2(3) will also make a presumption that someone who lives with or is often in the company of someone else who provides sexual services for payment is receiving a benefit from those services. 

Vocab:

Presumption means that the law will assume that something is true first and it could later be proven wrong through evidence or facts. 

UNLESS.... (Section 286.2(4))

They live in a legitimate living arrangement with the person providing sexual services for consideration. 

(This offence is not meant to punish a relationship of a legitimate living arrangement; the sharing of expenses between two people, where one of them is a prostitute, is not enough to satisfy this offence. There must be a direct benefit to one person from the prostitution of another. Sex Trade Workers who use their wages to support their children are not committing an illegal act and the children cannot be charged.)

They received a benefit due to a moral or legal obligation.

They received it for a good or service that they also provide to the general public or a good or service that they only provided to the person who exchanges sexual services but they did not encourage them to do so and the value of the benefit is equal to the value of the good or service. 

Note: It is still unclear how this section will be interpreted and what will or will not be considered to be an exception. 

4. Procuring (Section 286.3)

Section 286.3(1) says that it is an offence for anyone to convince someone else to provide sexual services for payment. 

Vocab:

Procuring means convincing someone else to have sex for payment whether with you or with another person. 

If the person providing sexual services is...

Over 18: This an indictable offence (more serious) which has a maximum punishment of 14 years imprisonment. 

Under 18: This is an indictable offence (more serious) which has a maximum punishment of 14 years imprisonment and a minimum punishment of 5 years imprisonment

 

  

 ESCORT AGENCIES

 

 

In Edmonton, escort services are legal as long as they comply with the city’s bylaw 13138 that regulates “Body Rub Centres” and “Escort Agencies” and the Criminal Code. 

Vocab: 

An Escort is described as "a person who charges or receives a fee for acting as a date or providing personal companionship for a limited period of time" and an Escort Agency is "a person who charges or receives a fee for arranging an introduction between an Escort and another person."

There are special regulations and application requirements to be an escort or escort agency:

All escorts must be over 18 years old and submit a recent Police Information Check. 

The agency must maintain a written work log of all introductions made through their service.

The agency must comply with rules around advertisements. 

 

Please refer to the City of Edmonton website for more information:

http://www.edmonton.ca/bylaws_licences/bylaws.aspx

 

 

PUBLIC INDECENCY

 

Section 173 of the Criminal Code says that it is a criminal offence to commit public acts of indecency, with the standard being one of community tolerance.  This means something that would be considered rude or inappropriate (for example related to indecent exposure) by the majority of general community members. 

Section 174 of the Criminal Code states that it is an offence if one is nude in a public place, or if one is nude in a private place but is exposed to public view. 

 

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GETTING ARRESTED FOR PROSTITUTION CHARGES

 

Rights when Under Arrest

When someone is arrested, the police must:

 

 

Inform them of the reason for the arrest

Inform them of their right to call a lawyer within a reasonable time

Give them the phone number for legal aid in their area

Give them reasonable privacy and access to a phone to call a lawyer

Give them a reasonable amount of time to contact and talk to a lawyer

The police must not force someone to answer questions before they talk to a lawyer, if they have asked to speak to one

If they waive their right to counsel, they still have the right to be silent when asked questions

There are some court diversion programs that may be offered by the police upon arrest such as SNUG which aims to provide services and other help for those who are longer to no longer be involved in prostitution

 

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UNDERCOVER POLICE OFFICERS

 

 

 

A police officer does not have to identify himself or herself if asked, “Are you a cop?” or “Are you undercover?”  The police only have to identify themselves once they start an arrest. Also, a police officer IS allowed to sexually touch a prostitute if it is in fulfilment of the officer’s duty. So, if a prostitute asks a potential john to touch him/her sexually and he/she does, that does not guarantee that he/she is not a police officer.

 

 

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PHOTOGRAPHS

A police officer cannot take a photograph of someone who is charged with communicating for the purposes of prostitution unless permission is given. Communicating is a summary conviction offence, which means it is considered to be less serious than indictable offences. If someone is charged with a more serious offences, indictable or hybrid offences, they may be required to give fingerprints or be photographed at the police station.

COARSE

The Centre to End All Sexual Exploitation (CEASE) offers a diversion program called COARSE (“Creating Options Aimed at Reducing Sexual Exploitation”). If an adult is charged with summary conviction offences, such as soliciting, minor theft, or breach of probation, that relate to their being a prostitute, they can apply to do a COARSE diversion plan. If they are successful, their charges might be withdrawn or the sentence might be reduced. 

COARSE is designed to help people involved in prostitution deal with the causes of their involvement such as addictions, homelessness, and mental health issues. Applicants must be serious about trying to end their involvement with prostitution. A COARSE plan will be made based on your individual situation and will be different for each person. 

The number for this program is 780-819-6656. 

 

 

PROSTITUTION OFFENDER PROGRAM- JOHN SCHOOL

The Prostitution Offender Program (POP) is a post-court diversion program. It is for individuals who are first time offenders charged with 'communicating for the purposes of prostitution' who are apprehended by an undercover sting operation run by the EPS Vice Unit. Through the POP, eligible offenders spend a full day hearing directly from the survivors, families, neighbourhoods and businesses harmed by their actions. 

To be eligible for the program one:

Must NOT have a history of violence, 

Must NOT have a history of child exploitation, and

Must pay a fee of $500 must be paid to participate in the program as an alternative to a court-imposed fine for the charge. This fee, as the offenders learn throughout the program, gets redistributed within the community and all money collected goes towards combating sexual exploitation within the City of Edmonton. If the offenders pay the fee and complete the one-day program the original charge is withdrawn.

 

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THE PROTECTION OF SEXUALLY EXPLOITED CHILDREN ACT (PSECA)

The Protection of Sexually Exploited Children Act (PSECA) is based on the idea that children (under 18 years old) involved in prostitution are victims of sexual abuse who need help and protection. PSECA allows for youth considered at immediate risk of being involved in prostitution to be taken away by the police or caseworker and taken to a “safe house” and confined for up to 5 days. This can be renewed for a maximum of 42 days more, to allow children to be connected with support services and placement services if they are unable to return home.  At the safe house the child is assessed for protection needs, medical concerns, drug and alcohol use, and other risks. 

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WHERE CAN I GO FOR MORE HELP OR INFORMATION?

 

 

Reporting Abuse

 

Edmonton Police Service

           Emergency................................................................................................................................................. 911

           Non-emergency…............................ (780) 423-4567 (or #377 from a cell phone in the Edmonton area)

 

Crime Stoppers National Tip-line (anonymous) ........................................................................... 1-800-222-8477

 

Child Abuse Hotline............................................................................................................................ 1-800-387-5437

 

 

Legal Resources

 

Legal Aid Society.............................................................................................................................. (780) 427-7575

       Free legal information

       Lawyers who may represent you for a highly reduced rate if you make less than a certain amount

 

Emergency Protection Order Program...........................................................................................(780) 422-9222

       Lawyers (free of charge, & with no eligibility requirements) to help obtain protection orders that can prevent a family member from contacting you

 

Lawyer Referral Service................................................................................................................ 1-800-661-1095

          Referrals to up to 3 lawyers that may be able to help you (they will be able to speak to you for up to 30min for free and then will likely want to be hired and paid)

 

Edmonton Community Legal Centre............................................................................................ (780) 702-1725

       Free legal information, free presentations on topics such as immigration, and spousal support.

 

Student Legal Services of Edmonton........................................................................................... (780) 492-2226

       Law students able to provide free legal information and assistance

 

Elizabeth Fry Society....................................................................................................................... (780) 422-4775

       Court workers explain court procedure and terminology, provide legal referrals, and offer practical assistance and support to those appearing in court

 

Native Counselling Services......................................................................................................... (780) 451-4002

       Court workers provide information on the nature of the criminal charge, rights, and court procedure. Assistance and support with the necessary documents, Legal Aid applications, and providing written submission when speaking to sentence

 

COARSE (Creating Options Aimed at Reducing Sexual Exploitation).............................. (780) 819-6656

       A community court diversion program where participants work hard to create a new path for their life, which can result in a withdrawal of charges or a reduced sentence.

 

 

Support

 

Chrysalis National Human Trafficking Toll-Free Line............................................................ 1-866-528-7109

       Free, confidential telephone counseling service for women, men & youth who are working in the sex industry or who have been trafficked

       Free participation in Project Lifeline: call in before and after a date, and if you aren’t heard from after, the project will inform your emergency contact

 

Crossroads ...................................................................................................................................... (780) 474-7421

       Support for individuals that are/have been involved in street prostitution, escort, and massage service, including a street outreach van providing immediate help (Mon, Tues, Wed, and Thurs from 8pm-12midnight, 780-405-6539).

 

Kindred House................................................................................................................................ (780) 424-4091

       A safe house and resource center for women and transgendered individuals who are involved in street prostitution. Open 12noon - 5pm, Monday - Friday.

 

ACT Alberta (Action Coalition on Human Trafficking) ............................................................. (780) 474-1104

       Assistance for victims of human trafficking, training & education for professionals working with trafficked persons

 

 

Counselling

 

Support Network 24-Hour Distress Line.................................................................................... (780) 482-4357

       Someone to listen & talk to when life hurts, if you are thinking of suicide please call

 

SACE: Edmonton Sexual Assault Centre 24-Hour Crisis Line............................................ (780) 423-4121

       Confidential support for anyone experiencing sexual violence or supporting someone affected by sexual violence

 

Family Violence 24-Hour Info Line.............................................................................................. (780) 310-1818

       Information and support in over 170 languages

 

CEASE (Centre to End All Sexual Exploitation) ....................................................................... (780) 471-6143

       Counselling, trauma recovery, and emergency poverty relief for individuals working to heal after experiencing exploitation.

 

City of Edmonton Assessment & Short-Term Counselling Services...................................... (780) 496-4777

       Free short term individual counselling, free family violence support groups facilitated by a social worker, free cell phones for victims of family violence 

 

YMCA Counselling Centre............................................................................................. (780) 423-9922 ext. 222

       Counselling offered on a sliding scale (may be free depending on your income) for healing from violence, exploitation, addictions, and a variety of other concerns

 

Walk-in Counselling Society of Edmonton................................................................................ (780) 757-0900

       Drop-in counselling session offered on a sliding scale (may be free depending on your income), designed to be a one-time experience

 

 

Shelters

 

Women’s Emergency Accommodation Centre (WEAC) ......................................................  (780) 423-5302

9611-101A Ave, Edmonton AB

       An emergency place to stay for homeless women, new women admitted at 9pm every night

 

Hope Mission Emergency Shelter............................................................................................ (780) 422-2018

9908-106 Ave, Edmonton AB

       A safe place to sleep for those living on the streets. Separate shelter areas available for men, women, couples, and youth. Open at 8pm. 

 

Edmonton Women's Shelter (WIN House) ..................................... (24 Hour Crisis Line) (780) 479-0058

       Shelter and support for women with or without children who are fleeing domestic violence

 

Lurana Shelter ................................................................................................... (Crisis Line) (780) 424-5875

       High security shelter and support for women with or without children who are fleeing domestic abuse

 

SAGE Seniors Safe House ....................................................................................................  (780) 702-1520

       Emergency housing for men and women over 60 years of age who are leaving abusive situations

 

YESS (Youth Empowerment and Support Services) ......................................................  (780) 468-7070

       Emergency shelter and short-term shelter for youth.

 

A Safe Place (Sherwood Park) ..................................................... (24 Hour Crisis Line) (780) 464-7233

       A shelter and support for abused women and their children, including free transportation (from Edmonton, Sherwood Park, & Fort Saskatchewan) for admission to the shelter

 

 

Health/Medical Resources

 

Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) Clinic................................................... (780) 342-2300

           Free and private testing/screening for STI infections and pregnancy, needle exchange, and 

          other medical services. 

Boyle McCauley Health Centre..................................................................... (780) 422-7333

          Medical clinic for individuals in the Boyle McCauley area. Also includes a mental health clinic, 

          a woman’s health clinic and services in other areas such as dental and optometry.

 

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