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The Codiac RCMP is forming a task force that will look at how it deals with sex-trade workers in Moncton. (CBC)

The Codiac RCMP is striking a task force and is promising to take a gentler approach when it comes to dealing with sex trade workers in Moncton.

The police arrested 11 sex-trade workers last week in downtown Moncton, a move that angered many groups who help vulnerable people in the city.

Angie Arsenault-Daigle, a nurse practitioner at the Salvus Clinic in Moncton, a medical clinic for disadvantaged people, said she met with the RCMP this week following the arrests.

Arsenault-Daigle said the police are creating a task force and have agreed to take an alternative approach when dealing with sex-trade workers.

"I think those are really important steps by the RCMP, so I'm hopeful that this task force that's going to happen is going to be a positive step forward for the girls," she said.

Arsenault-Daigle said the meeting with the police was important so they could articulate their points of view.

"We did kind of get together to say, 'OK, what can we do to try to help the girls a little bit,'" she said.

"We do want to make sure the girls have a voice and that they get the same respect for their human rights as anybody else would."

The RCMP refused to do an interview about the task force or how the police will deal differently with sex-trade workers in the future.

However, a police official said in an email it has been working on this initiative for a while and it says the new approach is unrelated to the recent arrests.

Laws need to be changed, sociologist says

One expert in the sex-trade industry said naming task forces and changing policies only go so far.

Gayle MacDonald, a sociology professor at St. Thomas University in Fredericton and an author of the book, Sex Workers in the Maritimes Talk Back, said the laws need to change before the lives of sex-trade workers can really improve.

"Police are destined, by the nature of their job description to go after the most vulnerable, that's the problem, even if a police officer doesn't want to arrest someone, that's their job," she said.

Prostitution itself is not illegal in Canada, though many of the key activities surrounding it are banned under three sections of the Criminal Code.

For instance, there are prohibitions on keeping a bawdy house, communicating for the purposes of prostitution or living off the avails of prostitution.

The Supreme Court of Canada heard a case in June, challenging the laws restricting the sale of sex.