Montrealers and tourists will not be seeing any prostitutes in the Old Port this summer as Mayor Denis Codere announced a one-year moratorium on the city’s sex industry.
Codere said the ban will last until next spring and will give the city time to professionalize the industry and establish a committee that will ensure optimal conditions for the hookers are being met.
“The Prostitutes are part of the identity of our city,” said Codere. “We have to protect them and make sure they’re treated like they should be. I wasn’t at all satisfied with how things were working. The best thing is to start from zero and give all the tools necessary to make sure it’s a source of pride and not a source of shame.”
The Sex industry has come under fire in recent years. As prostitutes are often forced to work nine hours per day, seven days per weeks, even in extreme heat.
Calls for a Red Light District have gone on for years. Last summer, a photo circulated of a fallen hooker in Old Montreal, prompting Codere to call for a report into the health of sex workers. The report concluded they have never been healthier.
The controversy was reignited in April, when video was captured of a Caleche colliding with a prostitute in the Old Port. The worker’s pimp was nowhere to be found.
“There are two priorities, to make sure that there’s safety – safety for the people and safety for the sex workers” he said.
Codere said prostitutes should be a source of pride and not shame for the city.
Critics call it a good start, but want more options for sex in the city.