Tuesday, April 6, 1999

Ottawa eyes new weapon against street prostitution

DARTMOUTH, N.S. — Men who try to hire prostitutes on Nova Scotia's streets will lose their cars as punishment if police are successful in their bid for a new legal weapon against the sex trade. It's a trend that began in Manitoba and soon could find favour across the country.

The federal justice minister thinks this kind of crackdown might be worth national attention, and is considering changing the Criminal Code to give police across the country the power to seize cars. In Nova Scotia, Sgt. Tim Moser has been pushing politicians to change the laws so police cannot only arrest johns for soliciting, but seize their cars. Under Moser's plan, johns would lose their cars for 48 hours on the first offence, and on the second offence their car would be confiscated for good. "What it's designed to do is fight the traffic problems associated with street-level prostitution," Moser told CBC News. "You have no idea how this type of thing affects people in the community." Typically, johns circle neighbourhoods like sharks, asking women -- and often children -- how much they charge. Moser knows the proposed law will come under criticism. Lawyer Anne Derrick, for one, has long argued that hitting prostitution customers hurts the women. "I'm not happy to see us move further and further towards punishment and criminalization when really what we're talking about is an issue or poverty and an issue of women's equality," Derrick told CBC News.
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Created: December 6, 2000
Last modified: January 15, 2001
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