Monday, March 26, 2012

Toronto needs to crack whip on brothel licensing: Mammoliti

TORONTO - Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti is urging city council crack the whip on brothel licensing in the wake of this week’s landmark prostitution ruling.

“We have to have this debate, there is no question in my mind,” Mammoliti said Tuesday.

A Court of Appeal decision delivered Monday struck down Canada’s bawdy house provisions as unconstitutional and amended the pimping provisions of the Criminal Code so that only those exploiting hookers will be prosecuted.

The court gave the federal government one year to address its concerns about the bawdy house law. If Ottawa does not act, hookers will be able to legally open bordellos.

Mammoliti — who floated the idea of creating a Toronto red-light district during his mayoral campaign in 2010 — was quick to pounce on the judgment, urging council to be open to the idea of zoning one spot for prostitution, like the Toronto islands, to prevent people from setting up brothels across the city.

“Traditionally these places — and there is a lot of them, about 3,000 in the city — for the most part you haven’t been able to see in their windows. I think you’re going to start seeing the windows opened up now that they are legal,” Mammoliti said.

“I think you are going to start seeing women kind of advertising for people to come in ... Communities now are going to say, ‘What the hell just happened?’

“When they see that they’ll want us to dialogue and figure out how to get them out of their local neighbourhood.”

Mammoliti said it is time for council to consider brothel licences, which he estimates could be priced at around $100,000 and determine where they can go in the city.

“I’ve always suggested we bring them as far away from the city as possible,” he said. “Of course (the island) is an option, I don’t see why it shouldn’t be. Why is my neighbourhood an option and the island not?”

— With files from Sam Pazzano

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