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octobre 2010

Ontario Court Decision Abandons Aboriginal Women and Women of Colour to Pimps

par Joint statement of the Aboriginal Women’s Action Network, Asian Women Coalition Ending Prostitution and the South Asian Women Against Male Violence

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Joint statement, September 29, 2010

The decision of the Ontario Supreme Court to strike down Canadian prostitution laws in another dangerous step entrenching the practice of prostitution in Canada. Prostitution reinforces racism and multiplies the devastating effects of sexism on Aboriginal women and women of colour.

The ruling abandons Aboriginal women and women of colour to be bought and sold by pimps, procurers and human traffickers whose status as legitimate businessmen is further advanced by Justice Susan Himel’s horribly flawed decision.

Aboriginal, Asian and South Asian women call on the federal and provincial governments to adopt the Nordic model as a progressive and equality promoting step to fill the legislative vacuum created by this court ruling.

 Information :

AWAN, Cherry Smiley
AWCEP, Suzanne Jay

Aboriginal Women’s Action Network (AWAN) - September 29, 2010

"Striking down the Prostitution Laws - Striking down our Voices"

The ruling by Justice Susan Himel to strike down the prostitution laws is another example of the disregard of the impacts of colonization on the lives of Aboriginal women and children : racism, sexism, poverty and violence.

Violence also takes the form of victimization at the hands of the judicial system. Canadian laws have not always worked for Aboriginal women and have been painfully slow to respond to our needs for life, liberty and dignity. Unfortunately, Canadian laws are the laws that Aboriginal women have been forced to deal with. The ruling by Justice Himel takes away what little protection women had from johns, pimps, and brothel owners and instead allows these very men the legal right to abuse women and benefit from women’s inequality. Yesterday’s decision to strike down the prostitution laws eliminates laws that could have been revised and advanced for women’s protection by decriminalizing the selling of sex and criminalizing the buying of sex.

We have been outraged that the suffering of our sisters in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver has been appropriated and used as a tactic by pro-decriminalization advocates for their pro-"sex industry" agenda. As Aboriginal women, we are disheartened to see the "horrific and shocking" conditions many of our Aboriginal sisters face on a daily basis. We are also disheartened to see that once again, our historic and current experiences, and our knowledge, dignity, and safety have been ignored to benefit the interests of predatory men. Of course we want women to be safer ; but let’s work toward securing life conditions and work that is safe.

The living conditions and status of Aboriginal women must be elevated to the same level as our Canadian counterparts, people who are not burdened with the additional layers of the sexist and racist discrimination of the Indian Act. This legislation limits our freedom to live and thrive and takes away any real choices we may have. Most prostituted women want out (close to 90% in various studies) and do not want this experience for their daughters. Prostitution is inherently unsafe and instead of moving towards the normalization of paid rape we should work toward abolishing it altogether. We want safe, not "safer". We want harm elimination, not harm reduction. These things are possible, and the Nordic model of prostitution law serves as an example of a move in the right direction. By decriminalizing the selling of sex and criminalizing the buying of sex, this model values and respects women. As Aboriginal women, we see the introduction of the Nordic model as a step toward the restoration of our rightful traditional places of respect.

 Smiley Cherry,

Asian Women Coalition Ending prostitution (AWCEP)

Ontario Supreme Court Decision :
Now more difficult for Asian women trafficked into prostitution to get protection of the law

Police raids on illegal brothels in the Lower Mainland revealed that over 90% of women prostituted out of the illegal brothels were Asian. The decision by the Ontario Supreme Court to strike down laws that criminalize prostitution activity offers human traffickers, pimps and johns greater legitimacy while stripping away a means for police to use the law in order to stem human trafficking into prostitution.

Asian countries are recognized by the UN, RCMP and the US State Department as source countries for international human trafficking into prostitution. They also identify Canada as a destination and transit country. An estimated 600-800 people are trafficked into Canada with another estimated 1,500-2,000 trafficked through Canada. Once in Canada, Asian women are trafficked within the country into brothels and massage parlours.

Domestic trafficking is consistently a factor in the prostitution of Aboriginal women who are more visible in street level prostitution. Violence, racism and exploitation are consistent experiences for both Aboriginal and Asian women regardless of whether they are bought and sold indoors or on the street.

The Asian Women Coalition Ending Prostitution challenges the promotion and imposition of prostitution on Asian women at home in Canada and in our countries of origin throughout Asia.

It is entirely possible to end the practice of prostitution. A first progressive step would be to immediately adopt the Nordic Model which criminalizes procurers, pimps and johns while recognizing and providing resources to address the systemic inequalities that press women into prostitution so that women are not subject to arrest or criminal charges.

Canada can create a better future for women than that which normalizing prostitution provides.

 For more information :

Statement of South Asian Women Against Male Violence

South Asian Women Stand Against the Buying and Selling of Impoverished Brown Women

We the South Asian Women Against Male Violence (SAWMV), are angry and deeply concerned about the Ontario Superior Justice decision to decriminalize prostitution. Justice Susan Himel struck down all three Criminal Code provisions that had been challenged - communicating for the purposes of prostitution, pimping and operating a common bawdy house.

SAWAMV stand together with Asian Women Coalition Ending Prostitution and Aboriginal Women’s Action Network because we view prostitution as not only a practice of sexism but is a practice of racism. We stand united with other marginalized women to reject the legitimating of men’s entitlement to buy ours, or our sister’s bodies.

Worldwide, it is impoverished brown women whose bodies are being bought and sold. This decision is not what we or our sisters want.

We demand economic alternatives for women in prostitution, detox services and exit services. We want the government to start thinking about the Nordic Model which decriminalizes the women in prostitution and criminalizes the buyer and sellers of prostitutes-the pimps, traffickers and johns.

Lee -Ann Lalli SAWAMV member : "Ontario Superior Court Judge has legitimized the exploitation of women in prostitution. The gendered nature of prostitution is that the buyers are men and the sellers are women. The gender inequality is not eliminated in decriminalizing prostitution because women still won’t have freedom and control over their bodies. Prostitution promotes and reinforces stereotypes of women of color as an "exotic" commodity to be bought. Women go into prostitution because there are lack of resources and opportunities available to them. Decriminalization of prostitution will lead more to marginalization and exploitation of women of color, Aboriginal women and poor women."

Farrida Hussain (SAWAMV) adds, "As a woman, I find it hard to believe that another woman would choose to be a prostitute. The ’profession’ puts women at risk of physical and mental abuse. It is the responsibility of the government and us as members of civil society to do everything in our power to protect women from these risks. I am afraid that this new ruling will thwart analysis of the social inequalities that lead to women being prostituted. It falsely claims that women are safe in a brothel and that prostitution is a viable way to make a living. It is in fact, a set-back from the measured progress that human-rights activists have made against trafficking and prostitution."

Contact Lee-Anne Lalli

On Sisyphe, September 30, 2010

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Joint statement of the Aboriginal Women’s Action Network, Asian Women Coalition Ending Prostitution and the South Asian Women Against Male Violence

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