A program to educate men convicted of buying sex from prostitutes is struggling because fewer charges are being laid after the Supreme Court struck down parts of Canada's prostitution laws
The prostitution offender program in Edmonton has held classes five to seven times a year for nearly two decades. But classes haven’t been held since January because low registration forced organizers to cancel the last session in March.
- Supreme Court strikes down Canada's prostitution laws
- Prostitution charges drop in Alberta despite directive
- Alberta to prosecute prostitution clients despite court ruling
The Supreme Court gave the federal government a year to rewrite prostitution laws when the ruling was made in December.
That prompted police to put their undercover investigations on hold while they waited for direction from the province.
“There have not been as many undercover operations and we can't have a john school if there's not an undercover operation,” said Kate Quinn with the Centre to End All Sexual Exploitation which runs the classes.
According to Edmonton police, thirty “johns” were facing prostitution-related charges at this time last year. The number currently sits at zero.
Quinn says that has consequences. John school fees fund initiatives to keep sex workers off the streets. The classes also teach men how their actions affect others.
"These men just think there's no accountability,” she said.
Another john school session is coming up but the offenders were charged before the laws were struck down.