A city councillor in Saint John is calling for a police crackdown on prostitution, but others say that’s not the answer to eliminating the sex trade industry.

Saint John has a bylaw prohibiting people jaywalking and from selling goods from sidewalks and Coun. Susan Fullerton feels it might also be a way to fight prostitution.

Fullerton declined to speak to CTV News, but Coun. Shirley McAlary spoke out against the motion at Tuesday night’s council meeting.

She was also the only city councillor who voted against it.

“One of the councillors made a motion to refer the issue of prostitution to the Saint John Police Force, and they were requesting that the police report anyone who jaywalks, or solicits from the sidewalks, if they’re a prostitute,” explains Coun. Shirley McAlary.

Julie Dingwell of AIDS Saint John says she was shocked to hear about the motion and doesn’t feel it’s the right way to address the sex trade industry.

“We had a council that said ‘I want to beat up on these people.’ It just floors me,” says Dingwell.

“If you fine one of these women for jaywalking, how is she going to get the money to pay for that fine? She’s going to have to sex trade more.”

Dingwell says one of the main areas of concern is Waterloo Street. Many people who live and work near the area say they believe the issue goes much deeper.

“Charging people with jaywalking or setting up a business on the sidewalk is not where the police need to put their efforts,” says area resident Lorene Johnson.

“Put their efforts where it matters, with drugs and charging the people who are looking for those services, not with women who are vulnerable in the city.”

Police are waiting to hear a presentation from council on the motion, but say prostitution hasn’t gotten any worse in Saint John.

“I don’t think we’re any different from any other city. I think the prostitute, it’s prevalent in all major centres,” says Sgt. Jay Henderson.

Coincidentally, police released details today of a major prostitution bust in Moncton. Ten men appeared in court to face charges of communicating for the purpose of prostitution.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Ashley Dunbar