Monday, May 3, 1999

B.C.'s Liveliest Voices

p. A24.

Finally, a law with enough teeth to clamp down on pimps, johns

Goodness knows, it's taken long enough, but better late than never.

The federal government has finally changed the law to make it a whole lot easier for police and the courts to deal with pimps and johns who prey upon young girls and boys.

New legislation which took effect this weekend now means it's a serious offence to "communicate" with someone for the purpose of trying to secure a child or teen from whom he can buy sex.

It means a john who phones up an escort agency and asks if they can make a 16-year-old (or even younger!) available will be stepping over the line and will be leaving himself open to prosecution.

The new law also will make it much easier for police to go with wiretaps to get the evidence essential for conviction of the pimps and johns who sexually exploited the youth.

The changes won't create miracles.

Federal and provincial governments, with local communities pitching in as well, need to address a range of issues to protect our teens, to make it straight that buying sex from children is unacceptable and illegal, and to provide services to help exploited youths get off, and stay off, the streets.

But it is one more powerful weapon to be used in the battle against the exploitation of society's most vulnerable.

And judging by the sex trade numbers and list of street kids, we need all the ammo we can get.

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Created: June 20, 1999
Last modified: June 11, 2001
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