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Prostitution : for an Abolitionist Bill

1er septembre 2006

par Élaine Audet


WHEREAS the human body is inalienable ;

WHEREAS prostitution under all its forms is a violence against women, a violation of their fundamental rights and not "a work like any other work" which could come under the authority of the Labour Code ;

WHEREAS equality among men and women, is recognized :
- by the 1949 UN Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others which considers that "prostitution and the accompanying evil of the traffic in persons for the purpose of prostitution are incompatible with the dignity and worth of the human person" ;
- by the 1979 UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), whose article 6 stipulates that "States Parties shall take all appropriate measures, including legislation, to suppress all forms of traffic in women and exploitation of prostitution of women" ;
- by the 1993 UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women which considers that "some groups of women, such as women belonging to minority groups, indigenous women, refugee women, migrant women, women living in rural or remote communities, destitute women, women in institutions or in detention, female children, women with disabilities, elderly women and women in situations of armed conflict, are especially vulnerable to violence" ;
- By article 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and by clause 28 which gives precedence to the rights relative to the equality between sexes on all the other rights ;

WHEREAS it is a blatant contradiction for a society to recommend the equality of sexes and the respect for human rights while tolerating that people buy and prostitute women, children, travestites, transsexuals, and to try eradicating prostitution without attacking the customers who constitute the cause of its existence and an inexhaustible source of profits ;

WHEREAS there is a clear need and will to create a world where one could live without being prostituted ;

WHEREAS there is an urgency to set up concrete protective measures, with an adequate financing, concerning health and security of the prostituted persons, as proof is made that in countries like Germany, Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, legalization, regulation or total decriminalizing have the effect of increasing children and adults prostitution and trafficking, as well as underground activities, insecurity, violence, physical and psychological degradation of the prostituted persons, whether they are prostituted in the streets, brothels, eros centers, hotels, private houses, escort services, massage parlours, exchange clubs or nude dancers bars. Hardly some 4 % of them are registered legally because the system of prostitution is bound inextricably to organized crime, street gangs, drug dealers, local and international networks for trafficking women and children in order to prostitute them ;

WHEREAS the combined interests of the patriarchal system, based on sexual and social relations of domination, neoliberalism and the organized crime, aim to globalize the very lucrative market of women, children, travestites and transsexuals (92 billions $ US presently), by means of prostitution, pornography, sexual tourism ;

WHEREAS there are bad consequences not only for the victims of prostitution and the residents of the districts where it spreads, but for the whole society ;

WHEREAS the Canadian State must send a clear message that to sell and buy the body of a human being constitutes a crime against humanity ;


1. To stop legal proceedings against the prostituted persons, who are victims of the system of prostitution and not criminals, to destroy their police record, which perpetuate their social stigmatization, deprives them from any hope of reintegration, and to make sure that the victims of trafficking can obtain if they wish the status of refugees or immigrants (art. 213).

2. To continue forbidding brothels or any other premises used for purposes of prostitution (art. 210 and 211).

3. To require more severe and effective measures against pimps and their accomplices in the institutions and the media, with a compulsory prison sentence, proportional to the gravity of the infraction, without possibility of remission (art. 212).

4. To penalize the customers prostituters and replace the current summary statement of fault by hybrid infraction*, without possibility of substituting " the johns school " and the payment of a fine to a possible police record and a prison sentence in the case of a subsequent offence. (art. 213).

5. To undertake a transnational campaign against organized crime and the bleaching of money coming from the trafficking of human beings by traffickers with the caution and complicity of the States, turning in more profits than the selling of arms or dope !

6. To fight against the causes of prostitution such as sexual stereotypes in the family, the schools and the media, sexist violence, poverty and all other forms of discrimination.

7. To stop financing the groups promoting "sex work " and granting visas to "exotic" dancers to answer the demands of pimps, bar owners, etc.

8. To set up help measures for the prostituted persons, notably detoxification care, safe houses protecting them from pimps and street gangs, a school or professional training adapted to their necessities, an allowance of social reintegration ( ARS) allowing them to start a new life without being in a critical situation.

9. To consider long-term prevention politics such as, for instance, a substantial citizenship income, universal and unconditional, or a livable income for everyone (LIFE), advocated by several women’s groups in Canada, so that nobody is obliged to be prostituted to survive.

10. To create a multidisciplinary permanent committee on prostitution, which would include community groups, women’s groups dedicated to fight violence against women, researchers, as well as medical, social, psychological, police and legal services.

• Hybrid infraction : criminal charges for which the crown can elect to proceed summarily or by indictment.

Translated by the author. Corrections are welcome !

On Sisyphe, september 11th, 2006.

Élaine Audet

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