Dear pastors, missionaries, chaplains and friends,
Steve here… I wrote several months ago about Bill C-36 and the new “Prostitution Law” the government of Canada was proposing.
The Bill passed on December 6, 2014, and for the first time in Canadian history, buying sex is illegal in Canada.
We celebrate this legal milestone and the continued fight against exploitation — particularly against women in our nation.
This law represents a shift in law and policy in Canada. Now we will be penalizing the “pimps” and “johns” and not just the prostitutes, who are almost exclusively involved in the sex trade due to abuse and continued exploitation. Hopefully this good law will begin to shift the public conversation and attitudes that declare the human rights of prostitutes are being violated by making sex for sale illegal. This law sends the message that women and children are not for sale in our country.
Sex buyers are now the focus. They drive the demand that drives women and children into the sex trade. They will be held accountable, not just those being prostituted.
The preamble to Bill C-36 describes prostitution as inherently exploitive, dangerous, and injurious to people. It objectifies women and children and ultimately brings social harm to society. It reframes the argument that “prostitutes are a public nuisance” to “prostitutes are exploited individuals who are largely desperate to get out of the sex trade”. This shift is right and good. It’s saying that women and girls are safer in a society that doesn’t condone “sex for sale”.
This is not a perfect law; this law doesn’t make it illegal to sell one’s own sexual services, unless done in a public place or near a school, day care, or community center. But it is a law that says prostitutes are in the sex trade largely as exploited victims. If we harshly criminalize exploited individuals, we create barriers for prostitutes to exit the sex trade. In fact, the government has included $20 million with Bill C-36 to support programs assisting individuals in exiting prostitution. This is a great start and will hopefully be increased by the federal and provincial governments.
Maybe “faith communities” can get involved in new ministries to exploited prostitutes and become a part of the greater national dialogue on public policy regarding the sex trade. Something to think about… Something to pray about. What was Jesus’ response to prostitutes? It’s time for us to do something about it.
Have a blessed week,
Our 2015 Fellowship theme verse is:
“"For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10 (NLT)