Ottawa bars foreign workers from Canada’s sex trade
Published Wednesday, July 4, 2012 11:34AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, July 4, 2012 10:42PM EDT
The Government of Canada is clamping down on the sex trade, with new rules that effectively bar businesses in the sector from hiring foreign workers.
The new measures announced Wednesday take effect immediately, with the aim of preventing the abuse and exploitation of individuals who come to Canada for legitimate work, but find themselves forced into prostitution.
"Our government is committed to protecting all workers from abuse, exploitation and demeaning work,” Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Diane Finley said in a statement Wednesday.
“Through collaborative partnerships and preventative action, these new measures will further strengthen Canada's National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking, which was launched in early June.”
Under the new measures, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada will issue negative Labour Market Opinions (LMOs) for all applications from employers linked to the sex trade. The so-called LMOs document the potential impact a foreign worker would have on Canadian jobs. Because employers looking to hire workers from abroad need positive LMO, the new policy means the practice will end.
The measures announced Wednesday also include a policy, effective July 14, that will see Citizenship and Immigration Canada stop processing new work permit applications from anyone applying to come to Canada for work in businesses linked to the sex trade.
“Canadians want an immigration system that is open and fair -- they do not want a system that can be used to exploit people,” Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney said in a statement.
“Canadians have told us they want to put a stop to foreign workers entering Canada to work in businesses where there are reasonable grounds to suspect a risk of sexual exploitation. The Government has listened and acted.”
Watching developments in Ottawa, CTV's Mercedes Stephenson said the government is making good on a campaign promise to protect foreign women who come to Canada and wind up exploited in the sex industry.
"They think they're coming here for another kind of job and find out upon their arrival that they're going to be forced to strip or forced into an escort business," Stephenson told CTV News Channel in an interview from Ottawa Wednesday.
"It doesn't mean that Canadian women aren't exploited the same way though," she added, noting that the new measures will not have any affect on the Canadian women who are trafficked into the sex trade.
"So this is addressing one angle, but it is far from a catch-all solution."
The affected businesses include strip clubs, escort services and massage parlors as well as "other businesses linked to the sex trade, particularly if there is a heightened risk of abuse or exploitation of workers."