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It is illegal to purchase sexual services in Canada!

Sex Purchasing Is Illegal

A “sexual service” is a service that is sexual in nature and whose purpose is to sexually gratify the person who receives it. Purchasing sexual services and/or communicating in any place for that purpose is against the law in Canada. If you are communicating for the purpose of purchasing sexual services in person, over the phone, on a webcam, on the internet and/or on any website advertising the sale of sexual services (backpage or alternatives to backpage), what you are doing is illegal. If you are communicating for the purpose of purchasing sexual services on hook up websites like Ashley Madison, listcrawler and/or sugar baby sites you could be charged. No matter what means you are using to communicate for the purpose of purchasing sexual services, you are breaking the law.

Obtaining a Sexual Service for Consideration is Sex Purchasing

Obtaining a sexual service for consideration involves an agreement for a specific sexual service in return for payment or another kind of consideration, including drugs or alcohol. It doesn’t matter whether payment is made by the person who receives the sexual service or by another person.

Whether you are arranging to obtain sexual services for consideration through any website (backpage, listcrawler), webcam, Ashley Madison, seeking arrangement sites or any other hook up sites, sex purchasing is a crime.

Activities that amount to obtaining a sexual service for consideration (payment, other kinds of consideration) include:

  • Sexual intercourse
  • Masturbation
  • Oral sex
  • Lap-dancing, (sitting in a person’s lap and simulating sexual intercourse – including in a strip club)
  • Sado-masochistic activities (provided the acts are considered to be sexually stimulating or gratifying)
  • Self-masturbation in a body-rub parlour

It’s the Law – Bill C-36

The effect of Bill C-36 (Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act) makes prostitution itself an illegal practice; every time prostitution takes place, regardless of venue, an offence is committed. In criminalizing those who create the demand for prostitution, Bill C-36 furthers its overall objective to reduce that demand, with a view to ultimately abolish prostitution to the greatest extent possible.

You Do the Crime, You Pay the Time

Communicating for the purchase of sexual services, whether through online ads on Ashley Madison, backpage, webcams, Twitter, Instagram, on hookup sites, or in person at strip clubs, body-rub parlours or on the streets could lead to the criminal charge of ‘Obtaining Sexual Services for Consideration’. You could face a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment and escalating fines starting at $500. Your family, employer, colleagues and friends may find out.

To determine whether an act constitutes a ‘Sexual Service for Consideration’ or ‘prostitution’ the court will consider whether the service is sexual in nature, and if the purpose of providing the service is to sexually gratify the person who receives it. To learn more, view Bill C-36

Purchasing Sexual Services from a Person under 18

Purchasing sexual services from a person under the age of 18 is an even more serious offence. Although already prohibited in existing criminal law, Bill C-36 moves this offence to Part VIII of the Criminal Code, along with most other prostitution offences, and increases the maximum penalty from 5 to 10 years of imprisonment and the applicable mandatory minimum penalty for a subsequent offence from 6 months to one year.

Purchasing sexual services is NOT a victimless crime.

Purchasing sex is not a victimless crime. The demand for paid sexual services fuels the growth of trafficking and exploitation of women and children. Victims of sex trafficking are often lured or coerced into the commercial sex industry and held against their will or made to feel there is no escape. You may think your actions are not harmful but you are supporting the sexual abuse and exploitation of young women and girls.

If someone you love is a victim of sex trafficking, please reach out to the London Abused Women’s Centre and we can develop a safety plan.

Together, we can reduce the demand for paid sexual services.


Bill C-36, Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act: