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“Public Consultation on Prostitution-Related Offences in Canada”



 If your a client, work/worked or have a loved one who works in any form of the…
Adult Entertainment Industry in Canada…
Now is the time to speak your mind.

Public Consultation on Prostitution-Related Offences in Canada

The Government of Canada is seeking the public’s input on the criminal law’s response to adult prostitution (i.e. the sale and purchase of sexual services from persons 18 years of age or older).
This online consultation is open from February 17 to March 17, 2014.
As the owner of AdultEA, I feel strongly that those who participate in Adult Entertainment should speak up and defend the industry from the anti-adult entertainment industry lobbyists campaigning there networks to flood this public consultation with feedback that does not reflect the needs of the adult entertainment workers.  Although our business is erotic massage and not prostitution, the changes in the laws will no doubt directly effect our business. In the spirit of vocalizing my support I’ve decided to share my personal thoughts on the coming changes in the Federal laws and suggestions on ways to allow industry workers to exercise there right to a safe and legal in-call within a Canadian Municipality, causing as little ripples in the pond while adjusting to the new laws. Your thoughts and comments are welcome, please see AdultEA’s Blog post “Public Consultation on Prostitution-Related Offences in Canada”

Consultation Questions

1. Do you think that purchasing sexual services from an adult should be a criminal offence? Should there be any exceptions? Please explain.
Comment: No it should not be a criminal offence. However street level prostitution should remain illegal. In my experience the mass majority of adult entertainers (parlour attendants/escorts/dancers) are not victims, the ones who are victims are usually street workers. Street workers are almost always victims to a drug addiction. Either they traveled that path on there own or they were led down that path by a drug dealer or any of many sad stories.  This smallest percentage of the industry (in the industry I know, London ON) seems to be the only story told in the media. All the same the street prostitutes are there and they need help, they are victims. Street prostitution is unsafe and unsightly for the community.  Parlour attendants, independent and agency escorts are who endorse and welcome the changes to the Bawdy House laws. It makes the profession safer and easier to clearly indicate there personal limits and expectations.
2. Do you think that selling sexual services by an adult should be a criminal offence? Should there be any exceptions? Please explain.
Comment: No it should not be a criminal offence. Prostitution in Canada is legal as there are no laws prohibiting the exchange of sex for money, but industry workers are restrained by the Common Bawdy House laws from doing it safely.  I believe the one  exception that should be debated is if she should be allowed to work if she has a serious or infectious communicable decease. With a Federal law that does not limit legal prostitution to Out Calls (prostitute goes client), an adult entertainer can work safely in a known and safe place. This gives her control of her business and can screen who she’s about to allow into her safe place and have others workers, security or neighbors near her if help is needed. This is called and In-Call (client goes to prostitute)
Quickly answering the immediate question of how to control where this soon to be legal In-Call is conducted is simple. Every entertainer in the business is a sole proprietor, she is conducting business in her own name. It is every persons right to be an independent contractor trading time/labour for money.  If a Municipality has concerns or issues arise because of citizen complaints due to an In-Call business in there city, it’s easily addressed with a by-law. Issue licences for all active adult entertainers and control where in the municipality they can conduct there business with zoning by-laws  Not at all different then current licenced adult entertainment body rub parlours and strip clubs. Careful wording of the new Federal laws need to protect the prostitutes right to work so municipalities don’t make zoning so restrictive in an attempt to obliterate prostitution in there municipality.New Zealand has such a law.  Smaller municipalities may choose not to create such a by-law having fewer if any adult entertainers. If an entertainers business is working from home and has no complaints or volume to warrant the creation of zoning by-laws, she would be within her Federal right to conduct business safely and quietly from home.
A municipal adult entertainment licencing program could easily be set up and run from existing local women’s clinics that is already conducting these tests. A London example: Middlesex-London Health Units 50 King St Clinic.  They could verify an applicants age with Government issued identification and issue an entertainers licence when the results confirm she is healthy. The licence would expire at an appropriate time duration, Example: 90 days.  There must be 100% confidentiality on issuing the licence. An adult entertainer has a right to her privacy as does her client. No police involvement in the issuing of a licence. If a licence became necessary, with these terms I’m certain the industry workers would except licencing. Licencing fee’s would generate more then enough to maintain and enforce the program. Most major Canadian city’s  licence adult entertainers already so this is nothing new. The argument to be had as to why the municipal  police have any say or involvement on issuing a licence to a person that has a Federal right to sole proprietorships in adult entertainment. Some cities won’t issue an Adult Entertainer Licence if one does not pass a criminal back ground check, has a criminal conviction or even pending charges. So a mistake from years past keeps a single mom struggling to feed her kids living below the poverty line? How is this fare or even relevant to a person wanting to work in a industry that no doubt will provide an income no other job can give her and in such short amount of time.
Any adult entertainer will stress how important her right to privacy is. Further more to that statement, how does the Federal Privacy Act protecting the rights of and individual come into play?  I raise this question because of so many industry workers that commute from cities that licence individual entertainers to London where they licence the business and hold the business responsible to stay compliant to city licencing by-laws. Driving hours to work for the very fact they don’t want a notation in there Police intelligence notes that they have worked in adult entertainment. They claimed in Woodstock that it would not be on there record, yet I know women formally licenced as Woodstock body rub attendants that have been asked in a routine traffic stop by London police if they are “still working at Laurie’s”. Special note that when this happened to one woman had her family in the car and Laurie’s had already been closed for over a year. So if its there for a traffic stop, its there for a criminal history check for a future job. A job she worked so hard to get paying her own way through University.  These are just a few reasons of many that concern industry workers.
So what should be the role of police and by-law enforcement in this licenced system? I would suggest the By-Law Enforcement Officer monitor if needed the licenced businesses or zoned areas enforcing all entertainers have a valid licence issuing fines to the entertainer and the company hosting her business if not compliant. They already inspect licenced adult entertainment businesses on a regular basis so not much to change here.
Police deal with what they currently deal with,  enforcement of criminal law, the highway traffic act,etc.   If someone is found working without a licence or out of zoned areas they should be dealt with accordingly to the Federal laws or by-laws they are breaking. There is no just reason to have the police governing the issuing of adult entertainment licences and AdultEA will be the first to challenge if a Municipality or its police has the right to deny a person there Federal right to conduct business in adult entertainment because of a past criminal conviction, or there right to privacy for fear of character branding.  The grounds for denial should be only if an entertainer posses a health risk  to there customers. A designated health clinic like 50 king is the proper venue. They offer confidentiality, education and counseling, in the interest of industry workers there is no better place for this type of independent business licencing to be issued.
I can’t stress enough how important privacy is to the industry. I’ve yet to hear any media speak for the real majority of adult entertainers. They are mom’s, part time and full time students from both poor and wealthy backgrounds. A large percentage have employment elsewhere and work the industry part time while others are full time career entertainers.  That scantily dressed woman with her T & A falling out of her dress… the one you’ve seen her in public that men can’t help but check out and women glare at… nope not an entertainer. The entertainer just walked by in sweatpants and practical shoes. For the majority of adult entertainers it’s a job to make money, not a life style.
3. If you support allowing the sale or purchase of sexual services, what limitations should there be, if any, on where or how this can be conducted? Please explain.
Comment: Its in the nature of most communities and neighborhoods that they would get upset if an escort or bawdy house set up shop in the complex or down the street from your home/school/daycare/church. No municipality will want to handle the level of protest from the public if an entertainer is working from her home nor will she want the attention to her business. Most municipalities have existing Licenced Adult Entertainment Body Rub Parlours and Strip Clubs. Although not all of these business would meet the needs of the industry, many of them provide the perfect business model and are established and excepted in there neighborhoods. The youngest of the Adult Entertainment businesses in London is near twenty years old.  Grandfathering these business licences and licencing indipendent entertainers to work in the zones set out by the city would  be the smoothest transition for society to except the coming changes. If the volume needs are not met the municipality could issue further business licences in locations meeting the same zoning requirements. Truth be told after a few days exposure in the media the industry would exhale, sort out and settle into the new laws and continue on the slow and steady pace it always had since the beginning of time.
4. Do you think that it should be a criminal offence for a person to benefit economically from the prostitution of an adult? Should there be any exceptions? Please explain.
Comment: No it should not be a criminal offence if the entertainer wishes to work with an licenced agency/manager /parlour/club. Adult entertainment of any variety is a business. An escort, dominatrix, body rub attendants, etc are all sole proprietorships. Either working independently or with a business on a contract basis. The safest is working in groups in an organized business with structure and protocols. Businesses have to make money to exist. If the entertainer is being pimped or forced to work that is totally unacceptable and should never be tolerated by law nor industry. I always hear this scenario in the media and I am sure it exists, but in fairness to the reputation of the woman I have worked with, the four companies I  manage and my own reputation of a major player in London’s industry; I have to state in the nine years I’ve worked in this industry, I have never worked with or even met a woman being forced to work in the industry. I’m sure the larger cities in Canada are different then London so I can only speak from my own personal experiences. But it’s this very fact that puts myself and the attendants on defensive when we watch and listen to the media.  To us these victims of human trafficking and manipulation are foreign, we just have not been exposed to it. We have worked in and around this industry for years and we are being brushed into this broad stroke of being victims and evil people.  Frankly I take insult to it. The attendants re-mark on  how insane it is for a worker to give up her earned money to a pimp. The fact that such a large percentage of industry workers in London’s demographic feel this way should in the very least represent the vast size of the industry and that our normal is very different then the media’s portrayal of industry workers.  I believe that this is not just London’s norm and that every city has a majority of workers unrepresented by media. It is in there very nature not to get noticed as they go about there business.
5. Are there any other comments you wish to offer to inform the Government’s response to the Bedford decision?
Comment: This “Nordic Model” simply will not work. It is for the most part ridiculous and not at all Canadian. We should look to countries with a history closer to our British roots like Australia.  Recently I’ve just learned New Zealand may have one of the best models to offer Canadians to follow.   Allow solicitation in existing and or new businesses that are licenced by the municipality as common bawdy houses. Give Federal rights to the workers to openly communicate what they will or won’t do and for how much to there clients. The power and choice must always be with individual provider and not the establishment. Municipalities can control where these business are located by implementing zoning restrictions. Escorts/Prostitutes that do not wish to conform to a structured business should be allowed to call in a reservation to rent a room within a licenced establishment. She can meet her client there and conduct her business safely with minimal cost. This would give multiple locations for an independent  entertainer to work in most Canadian cities. A business licence could also be granted to a Hotel/Motel with the proper zoning and safety protocols in place to accommodate independent providers.
6. Are you are writing on behalf of an organization? If so, please identify the organization and your title or role:
Comment: Yes,
I own, a dual agency representing four licenced body rub parlours and an average of fifty-five independent adult entertainers in London, ON
I have 9 years experience in adult entertainment management.  I have worked with over 1500 women in this time.  I have the respect of the women I work with and a good working relationship with the City of London Licencing Division.
I have never been approached directly or indirectly by anyone with any connection to human trafficking.  I have no knowledge or suspicions of anyone that has worked with me  of having a “pimp” or “exploitation” to work in the industry. Every person I have worked with very much wanted to work in adult entertainment.
The media surrounding these coming changes is loaded with propaganda and one side story telling both for and against prostitution. These  persons claiming to be experts and  may very well have credentials attached to there name, but do they really know any? How many “real” industry workers have they developed relations with? Is it just street workers they have counseled and interviewed?   How many part-time industry workers have they gotten to know? The students, single mothers, weekend workers that have full time jobs.  I am not an expert or a lobbyist but I am real as is my work history.  The women who apply for AdultEA representation don’t just walk in the door and have access to the businesses I manage.  They have a three point application process to even get to the interview.  Point 1. An interested woman must apply online,  I send a response  by email describing the work environment , expectations of professional behavior and what is required the day of the interview. Point 2. In that email they are provided my phone number and instructed they must call me directly to book a time and date for an orientation and interview.  Point 3. When she calls an appointment is set usually two to four days from the day she  calls.  Day of begins with an immediate verification and copy of the applicants Government issued picture ID followed by a detailed portfolio and questionnaire. After a tour of one of the locations I give a two hour orientation of the adult entertainment industry as a whole and the business model of our portion of the industry (Lincenced Body-Rub Parlours) After the orientation the applicant is provided a detailed list of agency proticols and is schooled on all the pertinent operational rules to keep her  status with AdultEA in good standing.  She then decides if she wishes to continue where then a contractual agreement is made with AdultEA. For operational training and her first exposure to erotic massage, she is partnered with a senior attendant. Her first massage will be with the trainer on a client who agrees to participate.  The new attendant has two weeks to submit a copy of her STD test results proving she is free of all communicable disease. The city By-Law indicated the business should do everything possible to stop the spread of communicable disease. This By-Law does not state we must ask for testing but our interpretation is this is the only way it can be done. As a result its company policy.  Failure to submit results in suspension of representation until submitted. Any quick pole of the attendants show overwhelming support for mandatory testing.  These are just some of the many operating procedures for AdultEA.  I understand not all massage parlour managers go to these efforts and it could be run much more lax, but that’s not how one runs a business of this nature with any success. Especially when ones business oversees so many businesses and entertainers.
Closing Comments
I would like state my personal thoughts on business operations if the current Body-Pub Parlour Licences are to be grandfathered into a licenced brothels.  Very little is likely to change, I expect the business model would stay exactly the same. Individual adult entertainment licencing would likely come into play but that’s mostly insignificant in the business model, just a new normal.  Few people understand how a parlour operates with the attendants, work environments certainly vary due to policies, management and cities but for the most part they all operate the same.  The business has a Adult Entertainment Licence to operate from the municipality.  Think of the business as an indoor motel and the parking lot is a comfortable lobby.  The business allows independent entertainers to occupy the lobby for time durations broken down into shifts.  The business usually has a controlled entrance where there is a price list for a variety of massage selections. Regular, jacuzzi, shower show, duo, couples with 30 and 60 minute variations. But the bottom line is there is really only one service being sold with multiple ways of receiving it. The service is a “Full Body Nude Erotic Massage”.  It is just a muscle.  The client selects the version of the service and picks an attendant they wish’s to receive it from.  Together the attendant and client are renting that room from the business for the duration of time allocated to the service the client selected.  The business shares the service charge with the attendant performing the service.  Not all body-rub parlours  share the door fee but we feel it is necessary as we do not permit attendants to ask or imply (solicit) for additional money or tips.  Not every client tips and we don’t expect attendants to work for free. Sharing the door fee hopefully keeps a proper level of customer service in play with non-tipping customers. Not all clients have the fortune of surplus cash for tipping or perhaps her customer service or attitude was extremely poor and he felt she didn’t deserve one. The critical rule the attendant must obey is not to solicit or ask for money or tips in the room.  All services are sold under the business name and business licence at the reception.  No solicitation can be allowed in the rooms, if attendants solicit in the rooms it would be the determination of the police to send in undercover officers to document the solicitation, finding one or more attendant soliciting they would attempt to build a case arguing the body-rub parlour was a common bawdy house.  They take action with a raid with advanced notice to the media and almost always coincides with a municipal election.    Three such raids occurred at the businesses I manage years before I became manager.  A waist of taxpayers money, no one could be convicted of any bawdy house charge , all charges withdrawn and dismissed.  This is how the attendants are effected the most by Common Bawdy House laws. The law is against solicitation of… One does not need to be soliciting a sexual act to be breaking the law. There is much an attendant is usually willing to do to heighten the experience of her client without providing sex/oral.  Body slides, reversals, modest touching, fetish and role play are usually in an attendants arsenal of erotic skills but rarely perceived by attendants as “included in the price of the massage”.  To be frank, to do such erotic behavior for just the portion of the door fee… its not likely happening friends.  Most regular clients are aware of what range of tip is appropriate for his request.  The anxiety for the attendant is not if she is willing or comfortable, more so will she be granted an appropriate tip.  The previous/current law does not allow an attendant to state or imply what she feels is an appropriate tip for whats known in body-rub parlours as “acceptable extra’s”. This is the game or hustle of they’re business, often frustrating for both attendant and customer. To be able to clarify with the customer most attendants would consider it a blessing.  Every city is different as is every cities industry has come into its own differently. Some parlours in other cities have an addition up sell price list for acceptable extra’s inside each room. Some have the up charge sold at the front door. The up-charge in the room was never exercised in our locations and legal advisers in the past warned police interpretation of Common Bawdy House laws could lead to another raid, hence the companies have made no changes to operating protocols. As to the up-charge when paying the door fee is concerned, we won’t do it. The owners and myself feel every attendant must always be in full control of herself and the client. It is the attendants choice and not the businesses if she is willing to provide a body-slide or reversal.  Both can be very intimate and both could put an inexperienced or intimidated attendant in a position where she feels vulnerable or uncomfortable.
Contrary to the impression the media may leave on adult entertainers, that they are victims or are suppressed.  If you ever were to know the 56 women I work with as I know them…. you’d know a whole lot of very empowered women taking the bull by the horns, pinning it down and bleeding it out to make a better life for themselves and there families. The attendants are very much a sisterhood and very willing to mentor and share knowledge with new attendants. A strong dynamic relationship within the parlour walls and stone cold strangers when passing in public.  Within the walls of the parlour no one is judged we are all the same.
Adult Entertainment, an industry that is by definition confidential.
What happens behind closed doors between two consenting adults is they’re confidential business and should have the right to communicate clearly.
I will continue this essay at a later date, there is still much to teach and more to add in perspective to the coming changes.

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