Buying Sex is a Crime is a national billboard campaign, supported by a wide cross-section of groups from across the country united in our desire to see an end to sexual exploitation in Canada. Look for the billboards at Homer & Georgia in downtown Vancouver and on Scott Rd in Surrey, beginning July 3.
Buying sex, or attempting to buy sex, is illegal in Canada.
In 2014, Canada passed the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act, which declared that the purchase or attempted purchase of sex was illegal – wherever, and whenever it occurs. This shift is significant, because the demand for paid sex is what funnels women into prostitution and fuels sex trafficking.
The preamble of the bill recognized that prostitution is inherently dangerous and exploitive, that objectification of the human body and commodification of sexuality causes social harm, and that prostitution violates human dignity and equality between the sexes. It also recognizes coercive elements like poverty, addiction, colonization, mental illness and racialization as a few key contributing factors to individuals entering prostitution or being vulnerable to exploitation.
Ending exploitation means turning the focus away from those who are prostituted and exploited and onto the demand for paid sex, which is the root cause of sexual exploitation and human trafficking.
This approach has been proven effective in countries such as Norway, Sweden and Iceland, and has been adopted in recent years by several other countries.
It is critical that the federal government maintain and encourage enforcement of the current laws in order to ensure that Canada has a real chance of being a global leader in ending this type of exploitation.
Our federal government has stated its commitment to working towards gender equality in Parliament and in the day to day reality of average Canadians. They have committed to addressing violence against women and girls.
Upholding the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act is a vital step toward achieving that equality and creating real safety for all peoples.