Sex exploitation and trafficking would not thrive if the demand and supply for sexual services did not exist. Providing sex to another individual in return for payment is prostitution. If we take away all the hype and glamour that equates sexual exploitation and sex trafficking to modern day slavery, we are left with the simple definition of prostitution.
However, there is a stigma attached to prostitution. Who wants to save a prostitute? They got themselves there in the first place and it is between two consenting adults. What we are fighting against is sex exploitation and sex trafficking – it is different than prostitution.
Unfortunately, this is the mindset that many individuals can have about prostitution. They do not realize that prostitution is at the core of sexual exploitation and sex trafficking. Therefore, the fight against modern day slavery is really a call for the end of the oldest oppression in the world – Prostitution.
Almost 8 years ago a subcommittee was formed to discuss the sex trade industry in Canada. The issue at hand was to improve the safety of sex trade workers and communities and to make necessary recommendations to reduce exploitation and violence in the sex trade industry. Representatives from each of Canada’s political parties were part of the subcommittee. These representatives were elected Members of Parliament and, in turn, represented the voice of the people who elected them. These Parliamentarians established a dialogue between different interest groups including: law enforcement; not for profit organizations; academics; and sex trade workers. These individuals presented their knowledge, experience, opinions and views about prostitution and the current laws in Canada to the subcommittee. The result of listening to weeks of testimony across the country led to the creation of a report entitled: The Challenge of Change: A Study of Canada’s Criminal Prostitution Laws.
This report not only summarizes various testimonies heard from the subcommittee, but also contains recommendations of how to address the issue of prostitution in Canada and views the political parties in Canada have regarding prostitution.
We do not endorse the view that the majority of the subcommittee has adopted regarding prostitution and the legal framework that Canada may be heading towards. The true battle ahead is a paradigm shift in how the majority of Canadians view prostitution and those who are victimized by it, as well as the social consequences.
There is a great chasm between the understanding of what prostitution is and its social consequences. Unfortunately, this great divide may have unsettling future legal ramifications Canadians have yet to come face to face with. The constitutional challenge we summarized under: Prostitution in Canada and Constitutional Challenge of the Prostitution Law is a glimpse of where Canada may be headed.
So what can you do? How can you be part of the paradigm shift? Arm yourself with knowledge about the different views fellow Canadians have about prostitution, form discussion groups to talk about the issue and brainstorm, write letters to Parliamentarians outlining your views and opinions on prostitution, and keep checking back here at A Million Acts Of Sustainability – we are in the midst of developing an education and awareness package that will equip you to become a crusader for human sustainability! With your help, we will be instruments of change, and we will lift up those who have fallen victim to sexual oppression into freedom and equality.