Newly proposed federal prostitution laws please pro-family groups

"Our Government remains committed to keeping our streets ... safe by cracking down on those who fuel demand for prostitution,” said Justice Minister Peter MacKay.
Fri Jun 6, 2014 - 7:26 pm EST

OTTAWA, June 6, 2014 ( – Leading pro-family groups are praising the direction taken by the proposed prostitution legislation released Wednesday by the federal Conservative government.

The Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act (Bill C-36), which would overhaul the Criminal Code’s current treatment of prostitution and related activities, targets the purchasers of sexual services with fines and prison and criminalizes those who benefit financially from the exploitation of prostitutes.

While selling sexual services would not be criminal per se, the law would prohibit prostitutes from operating in public places where a child, eighteen years or younger, is likely to be present, such as malls, recreation centers, parks, religious institutions, and residential streets.

The measures will be supported by $20 million in new funding, the government pledged, part of which will go to help the “most vulnerable,” those who want to exit prostitution.

"Our Government remains committed to keeping our streets and communities safe by cracking down on those who fuel demand for prostitution,” said Minister of Justice Peter MacKay in a press release Wednesday.

“Today, our Government is responding to the Supreme Court of Canada's ruling in Canada v. Bedford to ensure that Canada's laws and the criminal justice system continue to address the significant harms that flow from prostitution to those engaged in prostitution and to other vulnerable persons, while protecting Canadian communities.”

The Supreme Court ruled in December in the case of Bedford v. Attorney General of Canada that the laws against running brothels, or "bawdy houses," as they are called in the Code, procuring and living on the avails of prostitution, and communicating in a public place for the purpose of prostitution, were unconstitutional. The ruling was appealed by the federal government the following month.

The Institute of Marriage and Family Canada said that it is “pleased” by the proposed legislation.

“The Government of Canada is acknowledging that prostitution is an inherently dangerous activity,” said the organization. “Globally, it has been linked to criminal activities including human trafficking, drug trafficking and killings.”

Real Women of Canada said the proposed laws seem to have met the challenge stated in the law’s preamble, namely, to “protect human dignity and the equality of all Canadians by discouraging prostitution, which has a disproportionate impact on women and children.”

“This legislation, although not perfect, seems to have met that challenge,” the group stated.

The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada said it “commends the government for taking seriously the task of crafting new laws in the wake of the recent Supreme Court decision to ensure that prostitution is not decriminalized.”

“In crafting this legislation, the government has taken a big-picture view of the issue of prostitution and courageously challenged the belief that men are entitled to paid sexual access to women’s bodies; or that any person’s body can be considered a consumer good to be bought, sold or traded,” said Julia Beazley, policy analyst with the EFC, in a press release.

“The law is a teacher, and this law will teach coming generations of boys that it is both unacceptable and criminal to buy sex,” she said.

Mr. MacKay said the new law will protect Canadian communities.

"Today our Government is making prostitution illegal for the first time; the impact of the new prohibitions will be borne by those who purchase sex and persons who exploit others through prostitution. Prostitution hurts Canadian communities and the most vulnerable Canadians. We are committed to protecting Canadian communities by making it illegal to communicate for the purpose of selling sexual services in or near any public place where children could be present."

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