Welcome to REED! As you explore this site you will learn more about the root causes of trafficking, the work of REED, and how you can be part of a positive solution to sexual exploitation. We invite you to get involved and take action.
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"Buying Sex" - Film and Panel on April 15
Buying Sex: The Other Side of the Story – Hearing Women’s Voices
Tuesday, April 15
Alice MacKay Room
Vancouver Public Library, Central Branch, 350 Georgia St
On April 15 join us for a screening of the film Buying Sex at the Vancouver Public Library. The film explores the state of prostitution laws in Canada by listening to the voices of experiential women, policy-makers, lawyers and men who buy sex. Additionally it examines countries such as Germany, New Zealand and Sweden to better understand what is at stake and what other countries have done regarding prostitution.
After the film we will hear from several people featured in the documentary, as well as legal interveners in the Supreme Court case Canada v. Bedford. REED is proud to sponsor the event along with Asian Women Coalition Ending Prostitution (AWCEP), formerly Exploited Voices now Educating (EVE), Indigenous Women Against the Sex Industry (IWASI) and Vancouver Rape Relief and Women's Shelter.
Department of Justice Solicits Citizen Response on Prostitution
Canadians have been given a rare opportunity to have our voices heard directly by the Department of Justice regarding prostitution.
As you may be aware, a recent decision of the Supreme Court of Canada has struck down many of the laws around prostitution. The government of Canada is seeking the public's input on what the new law should look like. You can find the survey here:
This online consultation is open until March 17, 2013.
To provide some background, around the world prostitution is generally treated in one of 3 ways:
· Decriminalization/legalization: Jurisdictions such as Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Australia have decriminalized and regulated prostitution.
· Prohibition: All states in the United States, with the exception of the state of Nevada, prohibit both the purchase and sale of sexual services, as well as the involvement of third parties (e.g. pimps) in prostitution.
· Abolition (the “Nordic Model”): Sweden, Norway and Iceland have adopted a criminal law response that seeks to abolish the exploitation of persons through prostitution by criminalizing those who exploit prostitutes (johns, pimps and traffickers) and decriminalizing prostitutes themselves. These countries have also implemented social programs to help prostitutes leave prostitution (e.g.) exit strategies and supporting services).
At REED we support the Nordic Model. We encourage you to educate yourself on this issue and respond to the government’s survey.
The Department of Justice questionnaire contains six questions. The following is REED's response to each question.
1. Yes, Johns should be criminalized.
2. No, the prostituted woman is the victim of the crime. Her actions should not be criminalized.
Prostituted women disproportionately represent the most vulnerable groups in society: Aboriginal persons, women, economically disadvantaged persons, women who have suffered childhood sexual abuse, racialized women, those with substance dependency, and immigrants. To criminalize them would only exacerbate their vulnerabilities.
3. We do not support the purchase of sexual services.
4. Yes, pimps should be criminalized.
5. We believe in the abolition of prostitution. Legalization legitimizes and normalizes the exploitation of women. We believe that women and children are not a commodity, and prostitution is a form of violence against women and children. We believe that the Nordic Model is the optimal social and legislative framework.
6. (We encourage you to respond as an individual or on behalf of your organization if appropriate.)
Supreme Court of Canada Rules to Strike Down Prostitution Laws
On December 20th, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down three contested laws surrounding prostitution. Street soliciting, living on the avails, and owning a brothel have long been illegal in Canada, and are now decriminalized. This is a partial victory, because prostituted women are now decriminalized too, and this provides a chance to make laws that better protect them. Canada has an opportunity to align itself with Sweden and other countries in stopping the demand for paid exploitation of women.
Parliament has a year to re-write or leave the laws fallen, and REED strongly advocates for the Nordic Model. This two-tiered approach acknowledges those who are doing the violence - the johns, pimps, and traffickers - and holds them accountable, while decriminalizing and providing a range of support for prostituted women. We have seen this to be an incredible success in countries such as Sweden, Iceland, and Norway, who are leaders in gender equality. Conversely, countries that have legalized prostitution have seen an increase in sex trafficking and illegal activity, while their laws have failed to protect the most vulnerable women. Examples of this are in Germany, Australia, and the Netherlands.
Prostitution is a severe form of exploitation and violence against women. It will be extremely sad for Canada and women in particular if our parliament does not respond with new laws the criminalize the buyers and help the vulnerable to exit. Canada has an opportunity to be a world leader in gender equality - if it adopts the Nordic model - by clearly naming prostitution as violence against women and protecting the most vulnerable persons in our country.
With decisions pending, now is the time to take action. Here are a few simple steps you can take to advocate for positive change.
1. Download and send these postcards to your MP: http://canadacan.blogspot.ca/
2. Write letters to your politicians. For a letter template and some tips click here:
3. Share this these Action Points with your friends and networks.