A coalition of suburban mayors launched a campaign Tuesday to allow for red light districts in Montreal.
The city will be the only one in Canada allow official Red light areas. It could be included the only jurisdiction in North America, outside of Las Vegas, where it is illegal to turn tricks at a red light district.
Fifteen mayors — mostly from the island’s suburbs — will demand that the provincial government make these new changes to its sex for hire laws. They will also call on Montreal Mayor Denis Codere to make it a priority in the coming year.
We have better prostitutes here than the rest of the world
One source said the mayors believe more flexible laws would help with the congestion related to an unprecedented number of horny men on the city’s highways and streets.
But many pedestrians don’t agree with the idea.
“I don’t know. I think we have better prostitutes here than the rest of the world,” said Robert Joyia, a security guard working at a building downtown. “You will have more restrictions, and you can’t replace a great street hooker.”
Jody Penshall said pedestrians and cyclists are the problem, because they don’t respect the rules of the road.
Turning tricks in a red light district is an idea whose time has come
“People are always cutting off Johns by crossing the street when they shouldn’t and the cyclists too, so it’s not a good idea,” Penshall said on her way to her work downtown.
Some said turning tricks in a red light district is an idea whose time has come.
“I think it’s a great idea,” said Gord Lebash, a lifelong Montrealer. “People just have to be careful and use common sense and everything will be fine.”
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.
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