Bill C-36 Prostitution Laws In Motion

If prostitution in Canada concerns you then you may want to pay attention to Bill C-36 and the House of Commons Justice Committee who will be hearing testimony from interested parties over the next four days. Live on CPAC you can see how things transpire at the hearings.

In December when the Bedford case managed to throw out existing laws, the federal government was forced to bring in new legislation. In a hard-line approach the courts gave one year to address any amendments and legislation. Here we sit awaiting our fate as a nation and the  prospect of endangering more lives not protecting them. This is an issue that has far-reaching consequences and we can only look to other countries to see where liberal prostitution laws went amiss.

Beyond the power of a small vocal minority who want to open up prostitution there is the constant misinformation that gets regurgitated in our media.  It bothers me that some media covering this story insist on tossing out the phrase “the oldest profession” which I feel intentionally diminishes the negative aspects of prostitution. Talk radio and print media bring up the argument about “consenting adults” as if that makes up the majority of those involved in prostitution but statistically that is not the case. As with most things today we are limited in our understanding and mass media has become the means in which to keep us that way.

I want to share with you my letter to the committee members which was put together rather hastily but I hope touched on some key points.

Dear Committee Member,

I’m writing to you today so that my voice will be heard as discussions begin in regards to Bill C-36 and prostitution within Canada.

Through my direct work supporting victims of human sex trafficking and women who have experienced other forms of exploitation I understand very well the physical and psychological damage inflicted upon women who have been prostituted. It is therefore important that this committee and legislation recognize that the vast majority of prostituted persons are VICTIMS. This is not a politicized word but a word that best describes the historical abuse that accompanies individuals who find themselves selling sex.

Despite worldwide attempts to legalize, decriminalize, implement so-called safety measures including allowing for the ability to sell sex indoors, prostitution remains dangerous. Many prostituted persons are  abused or killed every year and nothing has worked thus far to change that fact.  I’m sure you are already familiar with countries like Germany who opened its doors to “safe” prostitution but now grapple with (by their own analysis) becoming the “Bordello of Europe.” Australia, Thailand, Nordic countries and the UK have experimented with liberal laws (or turned a blind eye) yet organized crime, trafficking, high incidences of disease  and child endangerment exists – which is why countries now look towards the Nordic Model for help.

The Bedford case has gone too far! Whether it be the adoption of Bill C-36 or some rendition of the Nordic Model, I implore this committee to look at this beyond party lines or special interest groups and see prostitution for what it is. It is complex, lucrative, rooted in exploitive beliefs and unmanageable by well-meaning Governments both at the federal and community levels.

Canada needs to focus efforts into offering practical steps to assist citizens who are vulnerable to prostitution, invest in programs that address child safety, mental health, addiction and offer exiting strategies. If we can change people’s perceptions about their role in preserving the environment then why can’t we do a better job of changing their perception that buying human beings is an acceptable practice?

Please consider our future carefully.

If you want to send your thoughts – here is the list of committee members courtesy of Hope for the Sold.

Name    Role Email Phone
Mike Wallace Conservative MP & Committee Chair 613-995-0881
Françoise Boivin NDP Justice Critic & Vice-Chair 613-992-4351
Sean Casey Liberal Justice Critic & Vice-Chair 613-996-4714
Bob Dechert Parliamentary Secretary for Justice 613-995-7321
Robert Goguen Parliamentary Secretary for Justice 613-992-8072
Pierre Jacob NDP MP 613-947-8185
Ève Péclet NDP MP 613-995-6327
Kyle Seeback Conservative MP 613-995-5381
David Wilks Conservative MP  613-995-7246
Joy Smith (replacing Patrick Brown) Conservative MP 613-992-7148


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