Decriminalize Prostitution Now Coalition
Your Tax Dollars Are Being Wasted Ruining Citizens Lives
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Canadian Prostitution - Favorable Legal Situation

In Canada, honest, full service, safe sex escorting (sexwork) is the accepted norm. Since Canada doesn't have the legal repressive issues as in the U.S. ads are usually honest, prices quoted are real - not the U.S. rip offs and scams. In general prices are far lower than in the U.S. since they don't have to include the large legal risk premium. Also there are more providers, choosing sexwork for the right reasons, since there is not the legal risk.

Everyone should have access to reasonable priced sexual relief of that normal sexual tension or sexual variety that is natural, from professional, caring, honest providers.

In most every country except the U.S. such services are legally available and not any big deal. U.S. laws are controlled by a religious agenda that has no biblical basis, only false traditions of sexual repression that have been incorporated into laws to deny healthy sexual service options. Those that oppose sexwork the most often are the ones participating in it but their guilt makes them lash out against it. They seek to deny everyone the healthy sexual services they are not suppose to enjoy based on their perverted traditions, that are lies with no legitimate basis.

Yes, even in the U.S. there are many great honest providers. But it is sometimes hard to find them among all the scams. Organized crime is also an issue in the U.S., while in Canada, most all of Europe, Australia, New Zealand, most of Asia, Latin America there simply is no "crime" to "organize"!

Brief Overview of Canadian Prostitution Law

Prostitution is legal in all of Canada it has been part of the Federal Criminal Code since at least mid 1800s. It is similar to British law and laws in much of Europe. Local communities can establish brothels and have some other limited powers such as licensing and zoning but can not outlaw prostitution which flourishes throughout Canada. 

While prostitution itself is legal how it is practiced is restricted and enforcement differs greatly in different cities. The Criminal Code of Canada restricts:

  1. Communicating -

    to avoid street prostitution by preventing soliciting or having sex in public. Car sex is illegal unless in a very secluded location as one case pointed out. A telephone is private so you can discuss it freely. It is also perfectly legal for a prostitute to advertise in magazines, newspapers and websites, as they are not considered public (you choose to buy it, read it in privately and read what you privately decide to read). For example in Vancouver, there are many ads are in the Westender, Vancouver Sun and Vancouver Providence for providers. Many Canadian providers have websites and there are good discussion/review lists. All perfectly legal and without the concern of being a roadmap for vice cops to find legitimate providers, like in the U.S. 

    Section 213 of the Criminal Code states that communicating for the purpose of prostitution is a summary conviction offence. Summary offences are considered "less serious", carrying a maximum six-month jail term, a $2,000 fine, or both. The offender does not receive a formal criminal record, nor are fingerprints or photographs taken. 

    In February 1997 the Vancouver police announced that they no longer intend to arrest prostitutes for even street communicating, except if they are working near schools etc. The press release announcing this policy reasoned that: The root cause of Vancouver's street prostitution trade is the men who purchase or recruit and control (pimp) juvenile or adult sex workers.

    Other cities in Canada and cities adjacent to Vancouver including Burnaby and Surrey have enforced the public communicating restrictions and have set up stings against men soliciting undercover cops on the street. 

    In Vancouver, in the high priced downtown streets the hookers help the cops instead of being adversaries. So the enforcement of the restrictions varies greatly and can change over time.

    In other parts of Canada people are very upset with all the street walkers in their area and point out the flaws in the communications law which they hope to change: According to the Identification of Criminals Act, fingerprinting and photographing of individuals are only permitted for indictable offences. Many of those charged under section 213 use false identities, so it is difficult for authorities to identify repeat offenders or runaways. Summary offences are often just slaps on the wrist, and fines become "the price of doing business" for many offenders. With little sense of deterrence, it is easy for prostitutes and johns (sex trade offender) to remain solicitatiing on the streets.

    Lyla who hosts one of the best Canadian sexworker discussion sites, in discussing street solicitation says:

    "The law up here was actually *more lenient* when I first arrived in Canada. At that time, we had a "pressing and persistent" component to the law -- which meant that not only did a streetwalker have to pin a prospective customer, but she had to hold him down for a count of ten in order to qualify for a solicitation charge. ;-) "

    But again it is not prostitution that is illegal, only the street solicitation. Prostitution itself is legal in all of Canada just how its done is restricted.
  2. "Bawdy Houses" are illegal.

    This provision was made part of the Canadian Federal Code in 1850. Yes, 1850. A bawdy house is a place kept, occupied or used by at least one person for the purposes of prostitution or indecent acts. Therefore incall service is illegal but enforcement of this varies in different cities from no known enforcement in Vancouver to even trying to use this provision to shut down swing clubs in some Eastern Canadian cities.

    Many people think the 1850 bawdy restrictions should be abolished. It would be much safer for the provider to work out of her own home, or a commercial sex establishment, properly zoned and business licensed, then going to the customers home. 

    Outcall sexual services of an independent provider is absolutely legal in all of Canada under long-established Federal Law. Canada is much more the land of the sexually free than the U.S.!

    In general, Canadian police are paying progressively less attention to bawdy house violations and off-street prostitution in general and more on street prostitution (car sex) which understandably upsets neighborhoods. This public sex is far different than private consenting adult sexual services, for which there should be no legal barriers.

  3. "Procuring and living off the income of prostitution" is illegal with its source back in the 1800s.

    Currently most of the enforcement of this law is against pimps living off the income of street prostitutes often also associated with drug crimes. 

    But it can also be applied to legitimate escort agencies that screen and offer some protection for the provider. Again enforcement varies widely and many think agency services should be allowed to protect the provider. 

    On the other hand it helps keep costs much lower than in the U.S. where the agencies often make a great deal of money the customer has to pay when using. It also helps eliminate the concern that "organized crime" groups would be involved in prostitution. Where it is legal like in Canada, there isn't the same profit potential as in the U.S. where all sexwork is a crime. Eliminate the "crime" in "organized crime" and that can solve the problem! 

    Canadian agencies often just charge a reasonable flat service fee for listing, advertising and appointment setting, unrelated to the providers income. But most providers are independent women working from their homes or apartments.

  4. The sexual procurement and purchasing sex from children and youth.

    In Canada, prostitution law enforcement tends to be complaint driven. The complaints are predominantly about street prostitution. More recently there has been more concern with children (under age 18) in prostitution. The age of consent in Canada is age 16 (increased from 14 in 2008) UNLESS for financial reward i,e, prostitution. In the U.S. every state sets its own age of consent which varies from 13 to 18.


The problems in Canada revolve around the communicating and bawdy house restrictions being too rigid and unevenly enforced. Otherwise the laws are in line with what we propose (at decriminalization section) in the U.S. In fact, our proposals would address all of these issues and should be very acceptable to citizens in general given the proper facts and public education.

In Canada the problems with prostitution are far less than in the U.S. and there seems to be agreement that criminalization would only make the matter worse...just like in the U.S.

Canadian sexwork laws are similar to British and French laws since France is one of the countries that colonized Canada. It is also quite similar to laws in the rest of Europe, Australia and most other countries. In Asian and Latin America in the countries where it is illegal it is usually tolerated and law not enforced.. In fact in many countries (parts of Mexico, Philippines, Thailand and many others) even where "illegal" the government licenses providers (Guest relations officers like in PI) and requires STD and HIV testing. In Thailand the Entertainment Act of 1960 basically makes most all tourist sex legal as "special services" Thailand wanted to protect all the U.S. service men resting..and recreating in Thailand during the Vietnam war since sexwork brought (and still does) so many needed economic benefits. Mexico has its zones where it is legal, and only a few states regulate it at all.

Other people's responses:
The tac that the law takes in Canada is to prohibit those forms of prostitution that are recognizable public nuisances, and/or lead to exploitation or encourage participation of "criminal elements" and activities.

The result has been lower prices, better quality of providers and services, and in many cases LE working with both providers and clients to make a safer environment for all concerned. The rip off factor in Canada is extremely low, and there are reported instances of the law attacking rip off scenarios in defense of both clients and providers. Of course there are many escorts in the US that fear any moves in this direction. Now they would have to actually tell a client the exact nature of their longer could they hide behind this "fee for time" nonsense. 

Arguably, if prostitution is a private matter practiced amongst consenting adults, the government has no right to criminalize the act. A federal statute protecting that basic right is appropriate under the law, just as the right to abortion is protected under federal statute. The only legitimate objection is when such practice takes place in a public venue.

The laws in Canada are based on the concept of "consenting adults in private" and that the government has no business regulating this behavior in private. But society does have the right to regulate and ban prostitution in public. Sounds reasonable to me. And you get great service at a fair price without all the LE and Ripoff BS, in Canada. I never use U.S. escorts anymore. I got tired of paying $200+ for an "air-dance". 

There are some great and honest providers in the U.S., but it seems as if many 'escorts' are against legalization because it would cause them to have to be honest and upfront about their service. Cozy little system we have in the States, isn't it?

For extensive information on the legal situation in the U.S. and ideas for decriminalization see

For Great Summary of Canadian prostitution issues see: Prostitution Law Reform in Canada
By John Lowman, School of Criminology, Simon Fraser University

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