March 29, 2012 Statement on drug-related prostitution in Hochelaga

Ms. Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet (Hochelaga, NDP):  Mr. Speaker, prostitution is not a career choice. Many women get involved in prostitution to feed their drug addiction. Fines and prison are not the solution to drug-related prostitution. Prevention is better than repression. We have to address the problem at its source. In other words, we have to address substance abuse and addiction.

That is what a number of groups and elected officials are trying to do in Hochelaga. The community organization Dopamine, which works in addictions services, wants to relocate to a neighbourhood where the need for its services is greatest. A respite care centre would be set up at Dopamine's former location where prostitutes could go to shower and sleep, and get help when they are ready to get out of the business.

However, despite the recommendation of the Agence de santé de Montréal, the application to the Homelessness Partnering Strategy to relocate Dopamine has been dragging on for months. What is more, I have received no response to the letter I sent to the Minister of Human Resources explaining this increasingly critical situation.

I hope to receive a positive response soon and I hope that the budget tabled a little later on will not abandon these people who feel increasingly forgotten by society.