An advocate for sex trade victims wants Canadian lawmakers to adopt an approach being tried in some European countries as Ottawa re-writes federal prostitution laws.
Natasha Falle's stable suburban Calgary life fell apart after her parents divorced when she was a teenager.
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“My story is actually a pretty common story,” she told a panel discussion at the University of Calgary on Thursday night, explaining how she wound up being trafficked as a sex trade worker for 10 years.
Now Falle promotes public awareness about prostitution with the organization she founded, Sextrade101.
The Supreme Court of Canada struck down the country’s three major prostitution laws in December, ruling that legislation banning street soliciting, living on the avails and keeping a brothel are unconstitutional.
It gave Parliament one year to come up with new legislation, during which time the anti-prostitution laws remain part of the Criminal Code.
Justice Minister Peter McKay has promised that new legislation will continue to protect women from violence and sexual abuse.
Falle said Canada should adopt the Scandinavian approach.
“The Nordic model is looking at decriminalizing for the people who sell sex and criminalizing the johns and the pimps,” she said.
“Hold the people, the root of the problem accountable. The men. The people who are demanding these women.”
France and Ireland are also considering adopting laws similar to those in Sweden, Norway and Finland and Iceland.