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The Subcommittee’s majority report is moving towards normalizing the buying and selling of women

12 décembre 2006

par Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter

(Vancouver) The Majority Report of the Subcommittee on Solicitation Laws recommends the decriminalization of buying women for the purposes of sex, the subcommittee’s majority recommendations would further entrench the practice of prostitution and therefore reinforce women’s inequality.

The subcommittee conceded that trafficking and the commercial exploitation of minors must remain criminalized and the victims protected. Vancouver Rape Relief does not support criminalizing women trapped in prostitution but we do not support legitimating the trade by decriminalizing the men who buy and sell women.

We see some hope in the minority report that appropriately questions the idea of consent and harmlessness in prostitution and accurately sees prostitution as a form of violence.

Spokeswoman of Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter Daisy Kler states, “ we are seriously alarmed at the refusal by the majority of members to recognize the inherent violence, sexism and racism in prostitution. We have just had a community wide discussion where all participants recognized prostitution as violence against women and agreed to work to end prostitution not reform it. I am shocked at the total disregard the majority of the committee has towards an abolitionist approach to prostitution”

Kler notes “The harm reduction strategy proposed by three out of four parties pretends that prostitution is a simple problem of ‘public nuisance” that must be managed to be made safer, healthier or less disruptive. Moving the trade indoors or making it less visible does not increase safety for prostituted women” added Kler.

Research presented to the committee of places that legalized or created red light districts such as the Netherlands and the state of Victoria in Australia reveal that decriminalization of prostitution facilitated the increase of the buying and selling of women, the proliferation of the trade including an increase in trafficked women and an increase in violence toward prostituted women. As other abolitionist have noted “ The ‘red light districts’ have created a green light to pimps and traffickers”.

The ideas that were agreed to by three of the four parties of legitimating the world wide trade gives men the idea that they have the right to buy and sell women and children.

In January 2007, another committee of the Commons will release their report on the question of human trafficking in Canada. As witnessed in Germany during the World Cup, the local demand creates the international trade. Kler asserts, “We know that the local demand created by mega tourist projects such as Vancouver’s upcoming Olympics will increase the demand of women to be bought and sold. This local demand is what will feed the international trafficking of women”. By the majority of parties pushing for the reformation of laws that would decriminalize the buying and selling of women, they are creating a safe haven for traffickers.

We call on the government and all opposition parties to reject all strategies that legitimate the prostitution industry and men’s ability to exploit women. We call on them to listen to the equality seeking women’s groups who do not see prostitution as inevitable. A better world is possible.

Vancouver Rape Relief & Women’s Shelter
Tel : (604) 872-8212
Fax : (604) 876-8450
Email :

Daisy Kler 872-8212

On Sisyphe, December 13, 2006.

Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter

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