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In , new legislation was enacted that made it a criminal offence to purchase sexual services from any person, thereby making prostitution illegal in Canada for the first time. Bedford Note 2 decision, which found three pre- PCEPA prostitution offences unconstitutional: the bawdy house offences as they apply to places kept for the purposes of prostitution, living on the avails of prostitution, and communicating in public places for the purposes of purchasing or selling sexual services.

This Juristat article examines trends in prostitution-related offences up until these legislative changes came into effect and thereby offers a final national portrait of prostitution-related offence trends for pre-Bill C offences. In addition, this report will highlight characteristics of persons accused of prostitution-related offences, location and time of these incidents, homicide characteristics involving sex trade workers as well as court case outcomes involving prostitution cases.

This report was commissioned and funded by the Department of Justice Canada. Prostitution rates are directly influenced by legislation and police enforcement practices. Changes in prostitution legislation have a direct influence on police-reported prostitution crimes Chart 1. For instance, in an offence prohibiting communicating in public places for the purposes of purchasing or selling sexual services was enacted Bill C When new prostitution legislation Bill C was implemented in , a decline in the rate of police-reported prostitution offences, largely attributed to communicating offences, was evident.

Although this legislation did not come into effect until December of , a notable decrease in prostitution offences is seen in the years leading up to the legislative change. In , police services reported 1, prostitution-related criminal incidents, representing a rate of 3. In order to obtain a better understanding of both incident and accused characteristics for prostitution offences, data between and are pooled for subsequent analyses.

Over this six year period, a total of 16, prostitution-related incidents were reported by police, representing less than 0. Note 3. As with all offences reported under the Uniform Crime Reporting Survey UCR , the prostitution offence statistics presented are based solely on those that come to the attention of and are reported by police. Fluctuations between years or across police services are common and may reflect changes in police enforcement of prostitution laws as opposed to actual prevalence of prostitution in a given year or community.

Clusters of arrests may be made when police services undertake sting operations. Furthermore, when new laws are introduced, it can result in a temporary increase of police-reported prostitution offences. On the other hand, the anticipated introduction of new legislation can also influence a temporary decline of police-reported prostitution offences until legal direction is clear. By participating in a John school session, an accused may have their prostitution offence charge stayed or dropped.

Many of these John schools still operate today. While attendance is not mandatory, it is a pre-charge diversion option intended for first time offenders and can be used in place of criminal charges if the accused completes the program usually 1 day and displays remorse. The sessions use a restorative justice approach that considers all persons affected by the decision to purchase sex, including the families of both the client and the sex worker, as well as the broader community. After a of Supreme Court hearings regarding the constitutionality of prostitution laws, some police services reported a decline in John school enrollments Huncar ; Tumilty This was attributed to a hold on proactive policing activities for prostitution offences until new laws were established.

Information on participation rates or the effectiveness of John schools is not nationally collected information, but may be available from some police services. Prostitution-related offences pertain to legislation in effect prior to December CCC, , c. These offences include, in brief:. Every person who communicates or attempts to communicate with any person for the purpose of engaging in prostitution or obtaining sexual services in a public place is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction. A public place includes places which the public have access to by right or invitation, and any motor vehicle open to public view.

Procuring involves enticing, soliciting, encouraging or forcing someone to engage in prostitution for gain, including living on the avails of prostitution. A person may be imprisoned up to 10 years for procuring. If the person is living on the income of a sex worker under 18, the maximum prison sentence is 14 years. A person keeping a common bawdy-house i. An individual occupying, found in, taking someone to, or in control of a bawdy-house and allowing prostitution-related activities to occur may be found guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

Between and , Saskatchewan reported the highest average prostitution rate The national average over the six year period was 6. In , the prostitution rate and of incidents dropped for nearly all provinces compared with the five years Table 1. Among the 33 census metropolitan areas Note 5 in Canada analyzed over the six year period, Saskatoon had the highest average police-reported prostitution-related offences rate While prostitution-related incidents take place in greater s in major CMAs such as Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto, once population size is taken into , smaller Canadian CMAs tend to experience greater relative proportions of police-reported prostitution incidents.

Between and , the average annual prostitution rate was Although the actual of prostitution incidents is smaller in non-CMAs, this suggests that smaller townships and cities experience slightly higher prostitution-related offence rates than major CMA cities when population size is ed for. This legislation introduced several new prostitution-related Criminal Code of Canada sections, including classifying certain prostitution violations as violent crimes.

In order to separate prostitution trends resulting from new legislation from prostitution law trends, this Juristat article analyzes prostitution offences up until Bill C was fully implemented the final full year of data included which marks the end of legislation is New offences under Bill C were first reported in December of ; less than 20 such offences were recorded in the UCR data.

Although these offences are new offence types under Bill C, they are included in trend data discussed in this Juristat article as a reflection of all prostitution offences reported by police during the six year time period. In , there were police-reported incidents related to the commodification of sexual activity, and incidents recorded as other prostitution offences.

For more information, see the police-reported crime statistics Juristat article Allen The most serious violation in an incident is determined by police based on a of classification rules regarding the seriousness of the offence. Most prostitution incidents occur in public spaces, on Wednesday and Thursday evenings.

Time and day of week incident analysis can be useful for certain offences that are suspected to have a predictable pattern of occurrence. When analyzed by both time of day and day of week, Chart 2 depicts how prostitution incidents peaked on Wednesday and Thursday evenings. Furthermore, by nature of the pre definition of a prostitution offence as communicating in a public space see Text box 2 , it is expected that a large proportion of police-reported prostitution incidents occurred in a public location. Almost half of persons accused in prostitution-related incidents were female, but proportion of males is increasing.

Historically, between the late s and late s, women were more frequently accused of and charged with prostitution-related offences than men Duchesne ; Wolff and Geissel This trend appears to have reversed in the late s when males represented a greater proportion of persons charged with prostitution than females Chart 3. Past research confirms that prostitution is the only type of crime in which females and males are accused at roughly equal rates Kong and AuCoin It is important to note that up until the introduction of Bill C in , prostitution communicating offence laws did not differentiate between offences committed by persons accused of providing sex and those purchasing sex.

For example, the definition of communicating for the purpose of prostitution s. As such, the sex worker versus client roles were not reported by police and cannot be determined from police-reported crime data. Research suggests that in Canada, the vast majority of people who pay for sexual services are men, and that most sex workers are women Benoit and Shumka ; Conseil du statut de la femme This research also suggests that sex workers should not be regarded as exclusively female; rather, there is literature on men and transgender people who also work in the sex industry Carter and Walton Females accused of a prostitution-related offence were, on average, several years younger than male accused.

The median age for males accused of a prostitution-related offence as their most serious violation was 42 years of age, while for females it was Among females accused of a prostitution-related offence, there is a peak age between 22 and 28, while for males, there is a wider age range approximately between the ages of 24 and 51 Chart 4.

Similarly, while youth under 18 years old represented 0. A greater proportion of youth under 18 years old were accused of offences involving individuals under Females experience far greater incidence of re-contact with police for prostitution than males. Repeat contact re-contact with police is a measure that provides additional context to the characteristics of those who come into contact with police for sex work and, more specifically, generates information on how many times individuals come back into contact with police for similar-type offences.

Over the six year period between and , 11, individuals came into contact with police for a prostitution-related offence and were responsible for over 13, prostitution-related incidents. When analyzed by gender, a large discrepancy is evident. These data show that although males and females are accused of prostitution offences at roughly equal rates overall, females are disproportionately overrepresented among repeat prostitution offenders at a rate approximately 9 times greater than that of their male counterparts. These findings are not unexpected due to the realities of working in the sex trade: many sex workers earn a living by offering paid sexual services.

As a result, sex workers, who are predominantly women Benoit and Shumka , may have been at higher risk of being repeatedly apprehended by police for prostitution offences by nature of working in the sex work industry. Between and , there were homicides in which the victim was identified as a sex worker Chart 5.

Note The median age of sex worker victims was Aboriginal victims were overrepresented among female sex worker victims of homicide see Text box 4 for analysis specific to homicide and Aboriginal identity. Homicides involving sex workers were less likely to be solved than homicides involving individuals who were not sex workers. This difference has been noted in research Johnson ; Royal Canadian Mounted Police Homicides involving victims who were sex workers may be more difficult to solve in part because they usually do not involve family members or accused who are otherwise well-known to the victims Dauvergne and Li ; Regoeczi et al.

In addition to collecting information about the substance use of victims, the Homicide Survey also contains a narrative section where police officers can add additional information about the homicide.

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