Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Prostitute Definition:

An individual who offers lewd sexual acts for the gratification of a customer and in exchange for money.

Related Terms: Bawdy House, Sex Trades

There is some authority for the proposition that to be caught by the legal definition of a prostitute, payment in money need not be established.

In Dube v R 94 CCC 164 (1948):

"It is not more illicit for a woman to give herself up for payment to a man who is not her husband than to do so solely to satisfy her own passion or that of her partner. Neither the one or the other of these acts is prohibited by the criminal law; both are in the moral domain. But what the law intended to repress, according to my opinion, is the keeping of establishments destined to encourage immoral relations between men and women. If the appellant's allegation were fair it would be necessary to say that a keeper who admitted to her establishment only girls who gave themselves up solely through passion or to satisfy the passion of another, could not be found guilty of keeping a house of prostitution.

"It seems impossible to me to interpret the word prostitution in a sense that would lead to such a result. I therefore believe that the word prostitution must be understood in a much larger sense and in a manner to include relations between unmarried men and women, whether these relations take place for payment or not."

Note that the traditional English definition encompasses only those who offer sexual intercourse for money whereas the criminal law definition is not restricted to sexual intercourse but can include masturbation or oral sex and other "lewd acts".

adult adIn R v Bedford 143 CCC 3d 311 (2003), the accused was charged with keeping a common bawdy-house in offering sado- masochist services as a commercial operation in her home (called "Madame de Sade's House of Erotica"). Inside:

"... there was a burlesque room with a throne on a stage. There was a pole on the stage that extended from the ceiling to the floor. Also in the basement was a dungeon with suspended chains, ropes, jail cells, a shower and a sink, and a room with a massage table and chains hanging from the ceiling. On the main floor, there was a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom with a wooden cross, a coffin and a torture bench. There was also a parlour, a small office and a schoolroom that had school desks and a blackboard."

The Ontario Court of Appeal:

"The common law is clear that prostitution refers to lewd acts for payment for the sexual gratification of the purchaser. The phrase "lewd", in my opinion, is broad enough to encompass acts that do not include genital touching but are intended to be sexually stimulating."

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