New prostitution laws a draconian step backward

Jun 17, 2014 By Matthew Friedberg

Toronto criminal lawyer Matthew Friedberg says Ottawa’s proposed new prostitution legislation is a step backward for Canada and will only force sex workers to remain underground in a dangerous, clandestine world.

“It’s not an improvement – the law now is far more draconian and more unreasonable than it was before,” he tells

The Conservative government’s proposed new legislation would criminalize the purchase of sexual services, crack down on those who benefit from prostitution, and outlaw the sale of sex near schools and other places where children gather, says the Canadian Press.

The government has said the legislation targets johns and pimps while protecting the vulnerable. The idea, the government says, is to reduce the demand for sexual services, protect sex workers from exploitation, and safeguard children and communities, says the news service.

But Friedberg, partner at Caramanna Friedberg LLP, says it does nothing to protect sex workers and, in fact, only keeps the world’s oldest profession underground, which will allow it to remain dangerous for those who work in it.

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