When the Supreme Court of Canada ordered the parliament to rewrite Criminal Code’s sections on prostitution in 2014, it was aiming at diminishing the demands for sex services to eliminate the risks involved in prostitution for the sex workers. However, Bill C-36 that House of Commons passed in 2014 ascended a series of glitches that questioned the much-focused ruling by the Supreme Court itself, i.e. to make prostitution less risky for the sex workers.
The Canadian sex act, formally known as, ‘The Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act (PCEPA)’, was supposed to replace the former laws, which were considered unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, and allowed sex workers to protect themselves from exploits and violence. If we can summarize the Bill C-36 in a line, we can state it as follows:
The PCEPA criminalized everything about prostitution: Buying a sex worker’s services, any form of communication intended on buying the services, procuring materialistic benefits from a sex worker that were obtained in exchange for sexual services, and advertising sexual services in any form.
The experts admitted PCEPA to be one of the most poorly written Canadian sex acts, and it possibly encouraged even dangerous situations for the sex workers. Despite keeping prostitution as still legal in Canada, the former laws made everything around it illegal. The new law meant to make prostitution safer while also encouraging the sex workers to step out, but the list of endless unclear assertions raised a concern about what is still legal and what is not.
Discouraging the demand itself by going after the buyers of sexual services
The bill criminalized the purchase of sexual services. It also targeted the people involved in facilitating sex work by criminalizing material benefits from sex workers that she had obtained in exchange for sexual services. Besides, it prohibits anyone from procuring sexual services for others, or procuring humans for sexual services, directly hitting the pimps and agencies that aggregated prostitution or hired people for sexual services.
However, the bill did not make a clear assertion on the definition of the ‘sexual services’. For example, a government legal brief considered lap dancing and masturbation as sexual services, but it did not clarify if stripping and porn production are in the list of offenses.
What’s illegal for the people in the demand chain?
- Paying for sex is illegal
- Pimping, aggregating, or any form of third-party services that encourage prostitution is illegal
What are the exemptions?
The law excluded those who live in a legitimate legal arrangement with a sex worker. The monetary and materialistic benefits from a sex worker to such a person are not a crime. It’s more of a legal or moral obligation of the sex worker. The exemption focuses mainly on living and legal partners of the sex workers, as long as they do not encourage sex work.
Limiting the scope by criminalizing sale and advertisement of sexual services
Of course, the bill did not forget what sex workers can do and what they cannot. The sex workers themselves would face charges if try to sell or advertise their services. The bill made the discussion of the sale illegal in public areas, which also included the areas where there is a presence of a person (s) under 18 years of age.
Besides, as it’s a crime to receive any kind of materialistic benefit from sex workers, this made it impossible for prostitutes to collaborate, or any third party for any kind of service they needed for aggregating or promoting their services.
What’s illegal in sales and advertisement?
- The discussion of the sale of sexual services in public is illegal
- Seeking help from third-party to conduct or promote sex work is illegal
What are the exemptions?
- The sex worker can advertise her services by herself without obtaining any services from a third party. The law affects all forms of advertising, both offline and online.
This is one of the most unclear points in the act, which allows sex workers to be responsible for their own advertisements, but it also prohibits the advertising platforms from doing this. Which brings us to our main discussion here-
Can the new Canadian sex act benefit online escort businesses?
The government introduced PCEPA to replace the old harsh laws. However, the new laws made things even dangerous for sex workers. It made working with others impossible, which eventually raised security concerns for the solo sex workers.
Although the latest revision of the PCEPA shows some assertions, which allow sex workers to negotiate the sale of sex in certain situations or advertise their own service, the ban on purchase and advertisement on any kind of platform still makes prostitution business impossible.
Can the escort businesses use the latest revision in PCEPA for their benefits?
That depends on how you see your online escort business, how you promote it, and what is the range of services you offer. Since law targets sell, advertisement, and aggregation of ‘sexual services’, you can successfully run an online escort service in Canada by exempting ‘sexual services’ from your catalog. Escort services are legal in Canada, and you can run an online escort agency in Canada without any legal complication by complying with the legal Canadian definition of this business:
The definition of An “Escort” or An “Escort Service Provider” in Canada:
A woman paid to meet with someone for a social date is an escort, and the aggregator who arranges the meeting is an escort service provider. Note: The purpose of the meeting/date is just to offer a company, sexual encounter. Therefore, an escort is not obligated to offer sexual services.
“Escorts” are female companions hired with open and negotiable dating options, which ultimately depend on the female’s independent, private, and self-made choices. Canadian government protects escorts under sexual exploitation laws, sexual predators & sexual offenders’ laws, and the laws under the National Human Rights Justice Administration of The National Escort Industry Institution Authority.
Hence, Canadian laws don’t categorize an escort as a prostitute. An Escort in Canada can post online advertisements, promoting herself as available for a date or accompanying in return for money. The laws categorize an online escort service in Canada as an adult dating service.
How to start an online escort business?
Once you are aware of the legalities of the business, which you can learn better after consulting a local business lawyer, you can start with the technicalities of running an online escort business. The steps are simple and easy to implement:
- Legalities: Comprehend all the legal formalities, and as per local escort service regulations, you might need to acquire a few or all of the following documents:
- A certificate of Incorporation
- A business license for operation
- An Insurance Policy
- Operating Agreement
- Employment Agreement
- Website: An escort website is not a standard listing site. You need an online escort agency script to build your full-fledged application to not just make the online listings of verified escorts but also manage the bookings and transactions online. You will need a ready-made script like xScorts to build your online escort-booking platform.
Xscorts is a turnkey script to build escort-booking websites. It comes with full open-source code access, and anyone can use this script to build a website without writing a single line of code. Whether you want to start an online escort-booking agency, or you are independent escort looking to start your own escort-booking platform, this script can let you do so without much of the cost, effort, and workforce.
We have written a detailed article on how to start an online escort service; you should read it to comprehend the steps in detail. Once you have your website ready, you can start hiring licensed escorts from various places, which have also discussed in the article linked above.
There is no doubt that harsh Canadian sex acts have made prostitution nearly impossible in the country. However, the legalized forms of adult businesses like online escort services are still conceivable. In fact, the harsh turn on unorganized sex work by the govt. is kind of a wise move, which aims at protecting women against exploitation and sexual violence. Working as escorts, women can still make a good income while also being protected by the law. Online escort businesses are more organized, legalized, and protected professions; much better than sex work. It’s a good business idea in a country like Canada.