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Rise in Prostitution During Montreal’s Grand Prix

Last week, police forces in Montreal, Laval and Longueuil announced that they will be working with the hospitality and transportation industry to detect and prevent sexual exploitation. This program, RADAR, will attempt to combat the increased sexual tourism that plagues Montreal during Grand Prix weekend. Those on the front lines of these industries will be tasked with recognizing signs of prostitution and human trafficking, and reporting their findings to the appropriate authorities. Examples of such signs include large amounts of condoms left in a hotel room after check out.

It is estimated that Grand Prix generates over $40 million in economic benefits for Montreal, but the annual event also brings with it increased amounts of prostitution, creating a vulnerable class of people who are subject to abuse and have very little recourse. Organizations such as Un Trop Grand Prix, are trying to raise awareness about this phenomenon with sexual exploitation campaigns aimed at young women and potential buyers of sex services.

“Telling the truth about sexual exploitation means deconstructing the myths and prejudice that lead girls into believing they are either safe from recruitment, can just ‘try it out’ for a weekend, or that it’s ‘easy money.’ The same misconceptions lead men to abandon any responsibility, because it’s a woman’s ‘choice’,” says Éliane Legault-Roy, spokeswoman for Un Trop Grand Prix.

Maria Mourani is an expert in this field. A Member of Parliament from 2006 to 2015, she is now the Founder/CEO of Mourani-Criminolgie (a Quebec-based criminology firm). In Silver Immigration’s exclusive interview with Ms. Mourani, she warned about the dangers that Grand Prix brings to Montreal, calling F1 “the el dorado of prostitution.” Women and girls in prostitution are brought in from around the country and abroad to Montreal for the weekend. It is very difficult to determine how many women are coming to Grand Prix to engage in prostitution and which countries they are coming from. In general, human trafficking in Canada is mostly internal (approximately 10% of women come from abroad) and the average age of entry of these girls is 14.

Prostitution activities serve as grounds for inadmissibility to the United States and while such offenses are not “criminal grounds” of inadmissibility, they still bar one from entering the US. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, Section 212(a)(2)(D), any person who has engaged in prostitution within the past 10 years, or who has directly or indirectly attempted to procure or import prostitutes is inadmissible to the US. No conviction is needed for a finding of inadmissibility for an offense involving prostitution.