Canada is the latest country to adopt the “Nordic approach” to prostitution laws, introduced in Sweden in 1999. This approach targets the demand driving the prostitution industry without criminalising prostituted women by outlawing the purchase of sex but not the sale.

The law has been successful in Sweden, with a reduction in prostitution and other exploitative practices such as strip clubs. The law has since spread to Norway, Iceland, France, and South Korea.

Previously, Canada’s Supreme Court struck down its existing laws against prostitution on the basis that they violated the safety of prostitutes.

The Court’s decision gave the Canadian parliament one year to draft alternative legislation before the existing prostitution laws would cease. The result is the Protection of Community and Exploited Persons Act, or C-36, which was passed by the Canadian Senate last month.

ACL has been advocating for this approach to be adopted by Australian states, making submissions to the ACT, Tasmania, NSW, and WA parliaments in recent years. Last week, ACL circulated a submission to South Australian MLAs ahead of a bill to deregulate the industry completely in that state. ACL’s Wendy Francis travelled to Adelaide to lobby against the bill.

Click here to read ACL’s submission to the SA Parliament.

For background information about the Canadian law, click here.