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1 min

LEGAL LIMBO

Although it isn’t illegal to sell sex for money in Canada sections 210 to 213 of the Criminal Code make it damn near impossible to practice sex work both safely and legally.

The bawdy-house provisions make it a criminal offence for anyone to own or operate a common bawdy-house or to be found in a common bawdy-house (section 210) or knowingly transport another person to a common bawdy house (section 210). Although a bawdy house is usually interpreted to mean a place where prostitution takes place bathhouses and their patrons have been charged under the bawdy-house laws as recently as 2002. The effect of these laws is to make it illegal to work in a regular location and with other sex workers as well as to employ security or drivers to ensure their safety.

Section 212 targets pimps by making it illegal to influence another person to become a sex worker or to force them to work. Part 1j of this law makes it illegal for anyone to live off the avails of a sex worker which puts anyone in the regular company of a sex worker, like a roommate or romantic partner, at risk of criminal charges.

The communicating provision (section 213) makes it a crime for anyone, sex workers or clients, to publicly discuss an exchange of sex for money in a public place. According to Statistics Canada 93 percent of prostitution convictions were on communicating charges. To avoid charges sex workers often work in secluded areas or meet clients in private places at a detriment to their personal safety.