Monday, December 6, 1999

Royson James

p. B4.

Brothel good idea, Rae says

AMSTERDAM — Toronto could use a city-licensed red light district like those in European cities, city Councillor Kyle Rae said here yesterday.

Rae, part of a Toronto delegation on a week-long trade mission to Amsterdam and London, was fresh from a tour of six city-licensed brothels in Frankfurt. He is scheduled to tour Amsterdam's red light district this week.

Rae, who represents Toronto's Downtown ward, told reporters that a licensed brothel "gets rid of the pimps. Women rent the rooms. It's usually two or three women who share; who make sure they look after each other … The guys that live off the avails (of prostitution) are gone.

But Mayor Mel Lastman heading the trade mission, said Toronto is a family town and residents don't want legalized prostitution. As well, he said, police don't endorse it.

Rae has called for changes in federal and provincial laws to allow prostitution to be regulated at the local level.

Yesterday, he and Lastman debated the issue over dinner as Lastman's wife, Marilyn, listened along with reporters, Councillor Brian Ashton, and two of the city's economic development staff, Commissioner Joe Halstead and director Brenda Librecz.

Asked if he'd like to at least study the issue, Lastman said: "I'd like to see a report from the public health and the police.

"I'm always willing to have (them) look into it, but I'm not in favour because I don't think the public will accept it. I don't think I accept it. It brings more violence … I don't want to encourage it."

The Toronto group today looks at how Amsterdam deals with homelessness.

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Created: March 28, 2000
Last modified: January 31, 2001
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