Letter on Bill C-36
If you are in agreement with the mission and vision of REED we invite you to send the following letter to Premier Stephen Harper, Justice Minister Peter McKay, and your local Member of Parliament. The letter is in support of Bill C-36 with ammendments to immunize prostituted women from criminalization. An electronic copy of the letter is also available here.
I am writing in regard to Bill C-36, the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act. I would like to ask you to support the Bill but strike Section 213, the provision that continues to criminalize those selling sex.
The Canadian government has taken a bold step to change the paradigm through which the country handles the commercial sexual exploitation of women, and this foundation gives us a solid starting point from which to advocate for women’s equality. We affirm the steps the government has taken towards framing prostitution as a form of violence against women and are encouraged that they do not accept prostitution as inevitable; these are great wins for those who support the full equality and dignity of women and girls.
The bill contains many assertions to be applauded. The preamble to the bill clearly affirms the inherent violence of prostitution, the social harm caused by the commodification of women’s bodies, the disproportionate impact of prostitution on women and girls, and the fact that the demand for paid sex fuels prostitution. Buyers will face criminal sanctions and the financial benefit from the prostitution of others is illegal.
At the same time the provisions in section 213 that allow the continued criminalization of women selling sex undercuts the intent of the bill. You clearly recognize that prostitution is inherently violent and unequal, yet 213 allows broad loopholes through which prostituted women can be criminalized and subject to further vulnerabilities, contradicting the stated intent of the bill. If you truly believe that women in prostitution are largely coerced and exploited then the location should not determine whether or not you criminalize them.
Please pass this important bill but stay consistent with the framework stated in the preamble and strike Section 213.
Please let me know your response.