Tuesday, June 7, 2016


As tourists flood into Montreal for the Grand Prix, police are warning them they'll be under watch if they try to buy sex.

The RCMP and Montreal police are teaming up to battle prostitution and sexual tourism.

Canada's criminal laws around prostitution were changed in 2014, classifying it as sexual exploitation and putting the burden of criminal behaviour on the person buying sex.

"[What we] want is for people to realize that if they buy sexual services, even if it's only once, then they are part of the bigger picture, they become part of the problem of sexual exploitation in Canada," said Camille Habel of the RCMP.

The organizers of the campaigns against prostitution launched in the past two weeks, both by police and by a coalition of women's groups, hope they will decrease the demand for sex work.

"It needs to become a more social issue and people need to know that a one time thing for you is part of a bigger problem," said Habel.

Police hope peer pressure caused by public awareness will also help.
"It takes only one person to tell his buddy that what he's planning to do is stupid, and he's creating a problem and becoming part of a problem, and that person changes his mind. Then we've achieved our goal," said Habel.

Billboards and posters are up around Montreal telling people that "buying sex is not a sport," and last month an international report 

Many former sex workers say they were exploited at a young age, with Beacon of the Freed, a group that helps women escape prostitution, finding that most prostitutes begin working in the sex trade at age 14 or 15.

If the posters and police warnings are not enough, those fighting prostitution during Grand Prix will be working to draw eyeballs this coming weekend.
Anti-prostitution protesters have scheduled a demonstration for Saturday on Phillips Square.

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