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New Statistics Canada report about sex-trade-related crime in relation to the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act (PCEPA).

June 22, 2021
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On June 21, 2021 – Statistics Canada published a new report about sex-trade-related crime reported by police before and after the 2014 legislation of Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act (PCEPA).

Key findings:

  • Youth (aged 12 to 17 years) accounted for more than 4 in 10 victims in violent crimes involving sex-trade-related offence both before and after the new legislation. Some of the victims were children younger than 12. 

  • Fewer homicides of prostituted women (“sex trade workers”) after the change in legislation: According to the Homicide Survey, 35 victims of homicide were identified as “sex trade workers” between 2015 and 2019, while 54 homicide victims were reported as “sex trade workers” between 2010 and 2014.

  • Police-reported human trafficking in Canada has been increasing dramatically. In the five years prior to the PCEPA (2010 to 2014), there were 466 incidents where a human trafficking offence was reported in the incident. After PCEPA (2015 to 2019), this figure more than tripled, with 1,824 incidents reported over the five-year period.

  • 2,304 men were accused in incidents of the new offence of obtaining sexual services from an adult. At the same time, there was an increase in men accused in incidents of obtaining sexual services from a minor.

  • Between 2015 and 2019, 62 young men under the age of 18 were accused in a sex-trade-related incident. The majority of these teenage boys accused after the PCEPA were accused in incidents of procuring or receiving material benefit from sexual services (aka pimping).

Hilla Kerner, a spokeswoman for Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter, commented on the report: “The report reinforces what we know from our front line work about the high number of girls trapped in prostitution and the close connection between prostitution and trafficking. Kerner added: “we welcome the improved response of the criminal justice system in holding buyers and pimps accountable and we are calling on our own province, British Columbia, to follow the example of other provinces and do the same.” “It’s important to note” Kerner concluded “that preventing men from buying, exploiting and profiting from girls and women in prostitution is crucial but we must also provide women with Guaranteed Livable Income, detox and long-term recovery programs, child care, and safe, affordable housing.”

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Crimes related to the sex trade: Before and after legislative changes in Canada, Statistic Canada, June 21, 2021

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