Monday, May 3, 1999

Kathy Tait and Frank Luba
Staff Reporters

p. A11.

Criminal Code toughens fight vs. prostitution

Changes to Canada's Criminal Code that went into effect Saturday will give police more power to arrest and get convictions of pimps and johns.

It now is an offence to communicate with anyone for the purpose of obtaining sex from children and youth.

A new wider wiretap provisions will allow police to investigate and prosecute pims. The wiretap change means juveniles won't necessarily have to testify in court, said Attorney-General Ujjal Dosanjh.

"I think the police have been doing an excellent job with the tools they have — now they have better tools," said Dosanjh, who has been pushing for the changes.

Vancouver police spokeswoman Const. Anne Drennan said the changes "sound promising."

Dosanjh also said his ministry will give $75,000 to the Deter and Identify Sex Trade Consumers (DISC) program to update its database and computers.

Developed by two Vancouver constables, the database has information on pimps, johns and prostitutes that will let police follow their movements better.

The new money will help set up a computer network linking the 14 agencies that are participating in DISC.

Dosanjh says he'll continue to press Ottawa to raise the age of consent from 14 to 16 "so we can better apprehend the johns and pimps."

And while Ottawa has decided against a national registry of sex offenders, B.C. "will look to start our own and hook up to the registry they have in Ontario, he said.

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Created: May 3, 1999
Last modified: June 11, 2001
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