On December 6, 2014, the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act became law in Canada. The Act recognized prostitution as violence and exploitation. It empowers police officers to arrest and charge pimps and johns while recognizing that women are in prostitution as a consequence of sexism, racism and poverty. Police are not to arrest women for being exploited. Since this “Nordic-style” legislation came into force, many police forces across Canada have refocused their resources to target pimps and johns who comprise the demand for prostitution and who are also a primary source of harm to women. However, police in Vancouver seem to be doing nothing to prevent pimping and sex-buying from flourishing in the city.
Here is a link to the new laws. http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/annualstatutes/2014_25/page-1.html
The Vancouver Police Department is still following an out of date (2013) policy that ignores the violence and exploitation experienced by women in prostitution.
Mayor Kennedy Stewart is also the Chair of the Vancouver Police Board, the body that employs and oversees the Vancouver Police Department. Members of the Board “are people who have demonstrated that they can act in the community’s best interest.”
It is not in the community’s interest to let pimps recruit women or girls, it is not in any community’s interest for prostitution customers (johns) to cruise our neighbourhoods looking for women and girls to lure and buy. Kennedy Stewart could fulfill his mandate on the board to provide general direction to this department, in accordance with relevant legislation and in response to community needs, by making prostitution prevention a priority for the Vancouver Police Department. Instead, we fear that officers know arresting pimps and johns is frowned upon by their supervisors.
This is a link to the Vancouver Police Board website. http://vancouver.ca/police/policeboard/Mandate.htm
Let Mayor Stewart, VPD Police Chief Palmer, federal Minister of Justice David Lametti, or your MLA know that there are many of us who know prostitution harms women and that men are exploiting women’s inequality. Prostitution cannot be dismissed as a non-issue. Many of you experience living in a community where pimps and johns affect everyone’s safety. Let’s tell our city, provincial, and federal authorities we believe it is harmful to our communities when pimps and johns are allowed to operate freely. It is harmful when the Mayor makes empty promises, and it is harmful when police don’t give women the protection that is mandated by Canadian law.