Justice Minister Peter MacKay’s new prostitution law is getting a failing grade from a Nanaimo group that works with people in the sex trade.
The legislation would make buying sex, making money by selling the sexual services of others, and advertising those services illegal. It would also be a crime to communicate for the purpose of selling sex in public places where a child could be present.
Lesley Clarke is the Executive Director of the Nanaimo Women’s Resources Centre. They set up a Community Action Team last year to reach out to sex trade workers and offer support.
Clarke says it’s a complex issue and the legislation doesn’t reflect that complexity. She says the legislation could drive the sex trade further underground and increase the dangers.
Clarke says making the advertising sexual services illegal will also put sex trade workers in a more vulnerable position, because it’s an important screening method.
MacKay has been defending the proposed law, saying it was drafted after a wide-ranging consultation with stakeholders, but Clarke says the issues raised by groups involving women in the sex trade seem to have been ignored.