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Canada’s House of Commons justice committee passed an amendment to the Conservative government’s proposed prostitution law this morning that specifically criminalizes the communication of sexual services in school grounds, playgrounds, and daycare centers.

Critics had said that the former wording of Bill C-36, which barred prostitutes from advertising sexual services in places where minors “can reasonably be expected to be present,” was too broad and could extend practically everywhere.

The amendment instead prevents them from advertising in places “open to public view, that is or is next to a school ground, playground or daycare centre.”

The proposed law aims at reducing and eventually eliminating prostitution by criminalizing purchasers, a model that has proved effective in Sweden since 1999 in reducing the commodification of women and girls for sex.

The Supreme Court gave the government one year to draft a new law after it threw out the old ones last December on the grounds that they violated the Charter right to security of the person.

Justice Minister Peter MacKay hopes to present the finalized bill to the House for debate and passage in the fall, a few months prior to the December 19 deadline imposed by the Supreme Court. 

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