Police want clarity on prostitution laws

B.C. is not prosecuting most offences related to prostitution after a Supreme Court of Canada decision

Local police officers are looking for some certainty when it comes to prostitution laws.

B.C. is not prosecuting most offences related to prostitution after the Supreme Court of Canada deemed the current law was unconstitutional. The federal government has a year to develop new legislation.

“We take our direction from legislation,” said Supt. Reg Burgess, officer in charge of the Vernon RCMP.

However, while the laws remain in limbo, Burgess insists his detachment will still focus on those who seek the services of prostitutes and not necessarily the sex trade workers themselves.

“Our approach is to do the enforcement to change the behaviour,” he said.

Six men were arrested for communication for the purpose of prostitution  in September.

All of them agreed to attend john school where they learn about the negative impacts of prostitution. Once the court is completed, no charges are forwarded to Crown counsel.

“There is the embarrassment and realization that they came close to a criminal record,” said Burgess.

On Oct. 25, 2013, six women were arrested for communicating for the purpose of prostitution.

“The focus of our investigation was to connect the women with community resources in our city,” said Burgess.

“Representatives from Interior Health met with each of them as part of our community mobilization to provide information relating to community services available to the women.”


Vernon Morning Star