OTTAWA, January 10, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The recent decision by the Supreme Court which struck down laws against prostitution as unconstitutional puts Canada at risk of becoming a mecca for the sex trade, according to Justice Minister Peter MacKay.
“We do not want Canada to become a haven for sex tourism,” MacKay told QMI Agency.
On December 20, Canada’s Supreme Court unanimously threw out the country's anti-prostitution laws – banning brothels, communicating for the purpose of prostitution, and living off its profits – stating that the current laws imposed dangerous conditions on a profession that is legal, infringing prostitutes’ Charter right to security of the person.
Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin noted that the case, Bedford v. Canada, did not deal with whether or not prostitution should be legal.
The high court gave the federal government one year to pass new legislation before its ruling takes effect.
MacKay said the Conservative government intends to work quickly to fill the void. “We're looking internationally at certain examples. We're consulting broadly with the police, of course,” MacKay said.
“There are many, many collateral damages that can result if we don't get this right,” he added.
Among the examples of legislation that may be examined are those of Germany and Sweden.
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While Germans are rethinking their position on legalized prostitution, made legal there in 2003, after reports that legalization has not really had any benefit for prostitutes, nor has it solved the problems it set out to address, Sweden appears to have nearly wiped out prostitution by passing legislation that criminalized the buying of sex, and decriminalized the selling of sex.
“In Sweden prostitution is regarded as an aspect of male violence against women and children. It is officially acknowledged as a form of exploitation of women and children and constitutes a significant social problem… gender equality will remain unattainable so long as men buy, sell and exploit women and children by rostituting them,” Swedish government literature explaining the law states.
This legislation, the only one of its kind in the world, seems to be incredibly successful according to Swedish officials.
The law, which has criminalized the purchase and brokering of sexual services, provides for up to six years in prison for pimps, up to 10 years for traffickers of prostitutes. The client could face up to six months in prison if caught in the act.
“We have significantly less prostitution than our neighboring countries, even if we take into account the fact that some of it happens underground,” said Jonas Trolle, an inspector with the Stockholm police unit dedicated to combating prostitution, in a report in Der Spiegel.
“We only have between 105 and 130 women – both on the Internet and on the street – active (in prostitution) in Stockholm today. In Oslo, it’s 5,000.”
A LifeSiteNews report from 2005 noted that the mayor of Amsterdam publicly admitted the experiment was a dismal failure fives years after legalizing prostitution in Holland.
“Almost five years after the lifting of the brothel ban, we have to acknowledge that the aims of the law have not been reached,” said mayor Job Cohen, as quoted by NCR. “Lately we’ve received more and more signals that abuse still continues.”
Policemen in Amsterdam’s infamous red light district were quoted by Dutch media as saying that, due to the legalization of prostitution in the Netherlands in 2000, police are hampered in confronting the horrors that are characteristic of the sex trade.
“We are in the midst of modern slavery,” a police spokesman said.
A study by the Scottish government in 2003 on the consequences of prostitution policies in several countries found that those that had legalized and/or regulated prostitution had a dramatic increase in all facets of the sex industry, saw an increase in the involvement of organized crime in the sex industry, and revealed a dismaying increase in child prostitution, trafficking of women and girls and violence against women.
Hon. Peter Mackay, Minister of Justice
House of Commons
Prime Minister Stephen Harper