The Prostitution Offender Program British Columba is available for any person arrested for Communication for the Purposes of Prostitution. It is intended:
- To educate rather than punish (this is not a "shame the johns" program)
- To provide the participant with the opportunity to understand the effects of his actions
In a non-confrontational way, the participant will listen to real stories from survivors, parents, and others who have been adversely affected by prostitution. This is a valuable opportunity for the program's presenters to confront their pasts, to learn, and to heal.
To complete the Prostitution Offender Program, a person must:
- attend a 2-hour orientation session to determine suitability
- complete and actively participate in the 8-hour program
- pay a $500 fee.
Excess funds are distributed to:
- Support Services and Programs
Legal issues and diversion
The legal ramifications of sex trade involvement: Section 213, Criminal Code of Canada (Communication for the Purpose of Prostitution) and Section 212.4 (Obtaining Sexual Services of a Person Under 18 Years of Age) are explained and court penalties are described. There are also risks of violation to the john (theft and robbery) and the risk of johns being charged with other crimes such as assault, sexual assault or committing an indecent act.
Health issues and prevention
A Street Nurse from the BC Centre for Disease Control talks about STDs and other health issues encountered in the sex trade and how these issues impact partners, spouses, children, newborns and fetuses.
The consequences of having a permanent police file
A Vice Unit Detective from the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) talks about what it means to be listed in the database of the program entitled "Deter, Identify, Sex-trade Consumers" (DISC) and the consequences for those who re-offend. This internationally recognized information management system shares sex-trade related information with more than 40 other police jurisdictions throughout North America.
The pimp is the entrepreneur, women are the raw material, and their bodies are the product. How pimps operate, and how they recruit and treat the women are discussed (the average age of entry into prostitution is less than 16 years of age). Program participants are informed that they are supporting and funding an industry that thrives on the commercial sexual exploitation and abuse of young people.
Impacts on communities
A community member who lives (or works) in an area that has been used by the sex trade shows the impact to neighbourhoods, families, residents and businesses as a result of its presence.
The voices of victims/survivors
Sex trade survivors tell their stories, stressing what kind of impact the johns and pimps have had on their lives. Feedback from the parents and former workers suggests that presenting their stories in this context provides a very important mechanism for personal healing.
A parent's perspective
A mother and father whose daughter was recruited into the sex trade relate their family's experiences to the participants. They conclude by stating that even though their daughter has been out for fourteen years they do not believe that their daughter will ever have a normal relationship with a man in her lifetime.
"What now?": healthy relationships
A person may admit themselves or be referred to the Prostitution Offender Program:
- by the police
- by the court
- through the Alternative Measures Program
When a person is arrested for Communications for the Purposes of Prostitution (Section 213 – Criminal Code of Canada) he may be eligible for POPBC if he:
- Has no related criminal record
- Presents well during the arrest
- Has nothing in his possession that would indicate malicious intent
- Has taken full responsibility for the arrest
Please contact the Prostitution Offender Program Coordinator:
604-872-5651 x 305