After a 15-year fight, New Zealand decriminalized prostitution in 2003.

Before then, the country’s prostitution laws were similar to Canada's, according to Catherine Healy, the national co-ordinator for the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective.

Healy, now an activist, was an elementary school teacher who said she chose to become a prostitute. She also helped lead the charge for decriminalizing prostitution in New Zealand.

Healy is speaking at University of Ottawa on Wednesday and Thursday about the sex trade in Canada and the pending legal reform.

Healy said laws that target the demand for sex wouldn’t be effective in fighting human trafficking. Instead, she said a regulated and legal sex work industry would encourage all prostitutes and clients to report abuse.

Watch her comments in the video above as part of CBC Ottawa’s series on Ottawa’s human trafficking industry.