Thursday, September 21, 2000

Alta. appeals ruling on child prostitution law

CALGARY — The government of Alberta returns to court Friday to fight for reinstatement of a child prostitution law, even though it's already adopted new policies on the street.

In July, a family court judge ruled the legislation was unconstitutional because it locked up young people for up to 72 hours without any charges being laid.

The government said the Protection of Children Involved in Prostitution Act, passed in 1999, was designed to help free kids exploited by pimps and often hooked on drugs.

The legislation treated underage prostitutes as "abused children" who were better off locked up in safehouses even though they had not been convicted of any crime.

But a judge said the law violated basic rights because the locked-up suspects did not have the right to repond to the allegations or file a judicial appeal.

Concern was also raised that authorities didn't need a search warrant when picking up children they believed were working as prostitutes.

On Aug. 1, the provincial government told police officers and social workers to get more evidence before picking up a child.

Lawyer and judges have also been made available to young people locked up in the safehouses.

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Created: December 6, 2000
Last modified: January 15, 2001
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