Canada’s New Prositution Law: Operating in the dark

There is no light strong enough to pierce the darkness of something that thrives on the death of dignity and respect.

A new prostitution law, Bill C-36, has come to pass which will criminalize the purchase of sex but decriminalize the selling. Other necessary measures for child and community protection are built into the law but as of December 6th, 2014 Canada embarks on a new path.

Like anything there is always a backlash and this time it comes from Toronto Councillors who have asked local police not to uphold the law. Member of Parliament, Joy Smith, has written an op-ed in the Huffington Post outlining how appalled she is with their actions.


In Ms. Smith’s post there are links to studies that concluded that legalization of prostitution in other countries did not protect women and children. However, despite facts such as these we find ourselves with Councillors and a flurry of media outlets focusing their efforts on perpetuating myths like:

* Prostitution is a ‘profession’ that can keep its workers safe if it is out in the open

* Is not exploitative in nature and for the majority is an empowered choice

Hope for Sold has covered the topic of human sex trafficking and traveled extensively to document what is really happening with prostitution and its relationship to trafficking. Their latest blog ENSURING THE SUCCESS OF CANADA’S PROSTITUTION LAW begins the conversation about how this law is not enough and that we must look at the issue of sexual exploitation in more depth.

Depth on any topic these days is hard to find as most people tend to seek out that which already supports their position. I’ve tried to listen to those that want prostitution to be legal and those that oppose based on mostly religious grounds. I support neither. It doesn’t surprise me that the new law will be controversial or that the media will find sex workers who claim it will hurt them. The voices of those most harmed by this trade will always remain hidden from our view.

To me, prostitution operates in the dark with or without legalization. It survives based on the secrecy of its users who risks losing or endangering loved ones through their behaviour and the secrecy of individuals or gangs that profit from its existence. There is no light strong enough to pierce the darkness of something that thrives on the death of dignity and respect.


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