Last week, our government unveiled a strong, groundbreaking bill that significantly overhauls Canada's approach to prostitution. For the first time in Canadian history, a bill will amend the Criminal Code to target the johns who drive the demand for prostitution, by making the buying of sex illegal.
Johns arrested for purchasing or attempting to purchase sex will face stiff fines and/or jail time. Bill C-36 also strengthens offences targeting pimps and traffickers. And it would criminalize the advertising of the sexual services of others.
This is a blow to the many brothels masquerading as massage parlours that saturate our communities.
So far, the public has only heard the opposition to Bill C-36 is rooted in the safety of prostitutes. Don't be fooled by pro-legalization lobby claims they are concerned about the safety of prostitutes -- they're not. A significant amount of profit stands to be lost by pimps and traffickers. They will stop at nothing to get rid of Bill C-36.
The Criminal Intelligence Service Canada estimates a single Canadian victim of sex trafficking is worth approximately $280,000 per year to her pimp. This is big money, and our youth are their targets.
The government has also crafted Bill C-36 to be constitutionally sound and to respect the findings of the Supreme Court of Canada. In order to increase the safety of individuals in prostitution, Bill C-36 will no longer criminalize women for advertising, being in a brothel or for selling sex in a private residence. The only limitation is on selling sex in a public place where a minor could be reasonably expected to be exposed to prostitution.
This shifting of the burden of criminality from the sellers to the buyers is critical in helping prostituted women. Research has shown the criminalization of individuals in prostitution is one of the key barriers to helping them exit prostitution.
Many proponents of legalized prostitution claim it is the only option for a progressive society. I disagree. A truly progressive society encourages the equality and dignity of women, not the prostitution of women.
Following the decision last year by the Supreme Court of Canada, striking down the prostitution laws then in effect, the government must pass this new legislation by Dec. 19, 2014.
Let's give a gift to our kids and future generations this Christmas. Let's give them a society that targets predators and pimps, helps vulnerable individuals escape prostitution and upholds the dignity of women.
Member of Parliament for Kildonan - St. Paul