Thursday, February 23, 2006



This article posted below appeared yesterday in the Edmonton Sun. I have printed it here because if the City gets out of licensing escort services, the women and men working in them will most likely wind up on the street--which place them in Harms Way. When are our policy makers ever going to realize that prostitution is here to stay and we need to properly manage this industry. Hopefully, our new Mayor, Sam Sullivan will be smarter than Alberta politicians--Jamie Lee

Re-Printed from Edmonton Sun

CALGARY -- Mayor Dave Bronconnier says the city may be forced to get out of the escort business, after a judge ruled municipal licensing rules are misleading to potential pimps.

Bronconnier said the judge's decision to clear a pimp of 11 charges, because the accused's official city licence convinced him that escort agencies are legal, may force city council to either drastically change the bylaw, or abandon it altogether.

"At the end of the day, if the Crown does not appeal, we're going to have to review the bylaw, or scrap it," said Bronconnier.

On Tuesday, former Calgary firefighter Douglas Eastaugh was convicted of running a common bawdy house, but Justice Pat Sullivan cleared him of 11 other charges, saying he was the victim of "officially induced error."

The court ruled the city's system of licensing and inspecting escort agencies had reasonably convinced Eastaugh that moonlighting as an agency boss was within the law. The ruling puts the city in a difficult position, following years of licensing and inspecting escort agencies, purportedly as a means of ensuring worker safety.

The city currently licenses 11 escort agencies and roughly 100 escort agency workers, raking in just under $50,000 a year, which is then spent on police inspections of the trade.

Bronconnier said the city will wait 30 days to see if the Crown appeals the Court of Queen's Bench ruling, and if not, the matter will be brought to city council.

Ald. Joe Ceci, considered council's expert on prostitution, said council must ensure a city licence isn't misconstrued as a licence to sell sex.

"We need to take steps to ensure what's on the books is helpful," said Ceci, who wants the city to protect prostitutes, not shield pimps from prosecution.

Here in Edmonton, Mayor Stephen Mandel said he's more concerned about street prostitution than escort agencies.

"I think if there's going to be a focus on it, it should be on street prostitution, which is really a huge challenge and it's destroying lives."

Mandel said he hasn't heard any complaints from police about city escort agencies. He said the city's licensing program "seems to be running OK."