By Hilary White
OTTAWA, December 19, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A newly released report says that the age of consent for vaginal sex in Canada – currently set at 14 – has made this country a favorite destination for child-sex “tourism”. The Global Monitoring Report on the Status of Action against the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, says that Canada’s age of consent has made Canada a haven for pedophiles.
The report was issued by the Bangkok-based organization, End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes, or ECPAT International. It gives Canada 17 recommendations, including raising the age of consent from 14 to 16.
EPCAT International monitors and studies the problem of child sexual exploitation around the world. The Global Monitoring Report says that legal action is not enough and that a culture of sexual exploitation of children has arisen around the world in recent years, particularly in media imagery and the internet. This, the group says, coincides with trends of children being frequently victimized by adults for commercial sex, “under the wrongful concept of their ability to consent to exploitation.”
The report recommends that “all children up to the age of 18 …be afforded legal protection from commercial sexual exploitation.”
A bill to raise the age of consent, one of the first to be put forward by Canada’s Conservative government, passed second reading in the House of Commons in October.
Federal Justice Minister Vic Toews told the CBC that Americans are being prosecuted under US laws for using Canada as a sex-tourism destination. “It’s ironic in Canada we can’t prosecute them, and yet Americans coming here and taking advantage of our children, when they go back, can face criminal prosecutions and lengthy imprisonment.” Toews told the CBC.
The CBC report quotes Toronto police constable, Paul Krawczyk, who said, “I’ve been in pedophile chat rooms that discuss Canada having such a low age of consent that they tell other pedophiles to travel to Canada because of that. Sixty-year-olds engaging in sexual activities with 14 or 15-year-olds is not appropriate.”
The federal government’s proposal to raise the age of consent in Canada from 14 to 16 was vocally opposed by homosexual advocacy groups who accused the government of attacking the sexual freedoms of young people.
As a longtime proponent of raising the age of consent, Toews responded in June when the government tabled their bill, “Adults who sexually prey upon young people are the targets of these reforms, not consenting teenagers.”
The proposed legislation includes a close-in-age clause that means young people 14 or 15 can have sexual relations with someone “less than five years older.”
The sides are clearly lined up in the war over child-protection and the age of consent. After the Conservatives tabled the bill, the Coalition For Lesbian And Gay Rights In Ontario and the Sex Laws Committee said raising the age would discriminate against the sexual choices of gay youth.
Planned Parenthood Ottawa and the Canadian AIDS Society also criticized the bill saying it would interfere with efforts to educate youth about pregnancy, disease prevention and sexual rights.
This February, the homosexual activist group EGALE (Equality for Gays and Lesbians Everywhere), asked the government to lower the age of consent for anal sex to 16 from its current 18, saying that the difference only served to “stigmatize gay men.”
Following this, in November, a Liberal Party policy resolution, attributed to the British Columbia branch of the Party, called for the lowering of the age of consent for anal sex.
Gay Activists Ask Canada to Lower Age of Consent for Anal Sex, National Post Agrees
International Group Urges Canada to Raise Age of Consent, Urges Against Legalizing Prostitution