The Edmonton Police Service has chosen a “balanced” approach in targeting both the buyers and sellers of sexual services. This is intended to remove activity from the streets and reduce the inevitable violence associated with drugs and gangs. EPS is proud to encourage all citizens to participate in community building. Positive change can be achieved by neighbourhood patrols, meetings with politicians, public awareness events and rallies.
Enforcement includes diversion programs for first-time offenders in the hope that knowledge will change their behaviour. Prostitution offenders, aka “johns,” may be given the opportunity to attend a full-day program to learn the extent of harm caused by their behaviours in the community.
The courts deal directly with repeat and violent offenders.
The COARSE (Creating Options Aimed at Reducing Sexual Exploitation) diversion program offers women the opportunity to work on personal programs suited to their individual needs. Whereas offenders generally represent a cross-section of society, it is recognized that victimized people often represent a disadvantaged minority and face many obstacles in trying to free themselves from exploitation.
Another example of community response is “Working Together to Address Sexual Exploitation in Edmonton: A Snapshot of Initiatives and Insights.” This report was commissioned by the Prostitution Working Group of Safedmonton, released in November 2007, and identifies five key areas needed to reduce the harms of sexual exploitation.
- Addictions treatment and housing;
- Coordination, funding and strategic action;
- Community mobilization;
- Legislation and enforcement;
- Advocacy for change.
Across Alberta, PSECA (the Protection of Sexually Exploited Children Act) allows Children’s Services and police to provide intervention and support for underage children who have been exploited. There are serious sanctions for offenders exploiting children. The Edmonton Police Service is committed to working with our partners to save children and fully prosecute those who prey upon our young children and teens.