Press Release: New Prostitution Law begins to recognize the Harm in Prostitution

Thursday, June 5 2014

Press Release

New Prostitution Law begins to recognize the Harm in Prostitution

[Ottawa, Ont.] —Wednesday, June 4, 2014 –The Women's Coalition for the
Abolition of Prostitution, a pan-Canadian women’s equality-seeking
coalition, is hopeful seeing the new law addresses the core harm of
prostitution – the buying, the commodification and the pimping of women’s
bodies. However, the coalition is critical that the law doesn’t fully
address the compounding inequalities of gender, race and class of women in
prostitution and that some elements of communicating for the purpose of
selling sexual services are criminalized.

Michèle Audette for the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) explains
the coalition’s position: “prostitution exploits women and increases
inequalities based on gender, race, age, disability and poverty. Our goal is
to stop the prostitution of women through legal measures and public policies
that recognize the obligations of the state to provide basicneeds and
protect women and young women from male violence against women.”

The coalition insists that women should not be blamed for their own
exploitation and that the sole responsibility will rest on the men who buy
and sell women.

Lee Lakeman for CASAC (Canadian Association of sexual Assault Centre):
“CASAC opposes the continued blame for women contained in this bill. No
matter where this violence against women is committed it is the
responsibility of those men who are buying sex. CASAC does therefore welcome
the emphasis on criminalizing the actions of those buyers and managers of
this sex industry. However vigilance will be required to assure that it is
men buying not women selling sex against whom this law is imposed. The
proposals for increased sentencing in this situation are both disheartening
and unpersuasive since men are virtually never arrested much less
effectively sentenced.”

Kim Pate for the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies (CAEFS)
says: "Decriminalizing the women and holding accountable the men who buy and
sell women and girls means nothing if women's economic, racial and social
inequality is not addressed.”

The coalition urges all parties in Parliament to support women’s groups in
their fight for women’s equality and liberty. Diane Matte for Concertation
des luttes contre l'exploitation sexuelle (CLES): "The Parliament needs to
adopt new objectives to the law on prostitution. These objectives must take
into account that prostitution is, at its very root, a form of violence
against women. It is time that Canada looks at prostitution for what it is,
a practice of inequality. We now count on all the political parties to
embrace a non-partisan approach and choose women's right to equality and
security.”

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Members of the Women's Coalition for the Abolition of Prostitution:

Action ontarienne contre la violence faite aux femmes (AOcVF)

Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centres (CASAC)

Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies (CAEFS)

Concertation des luttes contre l'exploitation sexuelle (CLES)

Native Women's Association of Canada (NWAC)

Regroupement québécois des centres d'aide et de lutte contre les agressions
caractère sexual  (RQCALACS)

Vancouver Rape Relief & Women's Shelter



Media contacts:

Hilla Kerner 604-872-8212  <mailto:hillak@rapereliefshelter.bc.ca>
hillak@rapereliefshelter.bc.ca

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