Friday, April 11, 1997

Justine Hunter
Sun Legislature Bureau

p. A17

Prostitution bill disappoints Dosanjh

VICTORIA -- The federal government has missed an opportunity to help police crack down on child prostitution, B.C. Attorney-General Ujjal Dosanjh said Thursday.

This week, the House of Commons passed a bill to amend the Criminal Code but the changes failed to include a passage proposed by the B.C. government that would make it easier for police to collect evidence against johns and pimps using prostitutes under the age of 18.

"I am disappointed that this amendment was not included in Bill C-27 because had it been included, it would have been easier to obtain convictions against those who sexually exploit our children," Dosanjh told federal justice minister Allan Rock in a letter.

He went on to call the amendments in Bill C-27 "flawed" and wrote: "I cannot you could have failed to include these [B.C.] amendments in Bill C-27 -- especially when the purpose of them is to help convict those who prey on our youth."

In an interview, Dosanjh said he is still hopeful the legislation could be re-jigged after the Senate is finished dealing with it.

"This would enable police to go under cover and present themselves as individuals under 18 to seek evidence to apprehend pimps and johns of youth and then eventually to seek convictions in court," he said.

"The amendment that Allan Rock proposed means that one would need to prove the state of mind of the accused as to whether or not the accused understood the person to be under 18. The words we proposed would make is suffice if the individual presents himself or herself to be under 18. That would enable directly the police officers to go under cover and seek evidence."

He said police support the B.C. position. "They need this to really be successful. One of the reasons you don't have a lot of charges or convictions [under existing law] is the difficulty of enforcing the law as it is."

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Created: April 20, 1997
Last modified: July 2, 1997

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