Council blocks new body rub parlours despite warnings from administration
Administration says moratorium could drive sex trade underground
A new temporary moratorium on body rub parlours was approved by Edmonton city council without debate on Wednesday despite warnings from administration that the measure could drive the sex trade underground.
The moratorium is in effect until May 1.
Coun. Scott McKeen, who pitched the freeze on Oct. 9, said he wants prevent new body rubs parlours from being grandfathered in before members of a task force studying the issue can come up with recommendations.
He added the issue is further complicated by the Supreme Court of Canada's decision in December to strike down the country's prostitution laws.
“It’s better to have [the task force] have that time to reflect and review the situation in Canada in regards to the new laws, and see what kind of rules and regulations we can come up with to better protect sex trade workers, and to also include and balance out the needs of the community,” McKeen said.
Administration warned council more escorts applied for licenses the last time the city placed a moratorium on such establishments. They found that more people sought unlicensed escorts on the internet.
Mayor Don Iveson said he’s not worried.
“The short term unintended consequences I think will be minimal,” Iveson said.
The body rub parlour task force is expected to release recommendations in early 2015. Meanwhile the moratorium will stay in effect until May 1.