November 22, 2021

MPs urged to support Canada’s prostitution law, fight sexual exploitation

VANCOUVER – The Vancouver Collective Against Sexual Exploitation (VCASE) is calling on Canada’s new Parliament to vigorously support and enforce the country’s existing prostitution law.

“Canada’s current law must be protected against a dangerous onslaught of misguided legal and political challenges,” says VCASE chair Lynne Kent.  “Prostituted persons face greater exploitation if the current laws are overturned, human trafficking will increase, and pimps and bawdy-house operators will grow rich at the expense of exploited women and girls.”

Kent points to the disastrous consequences of New Zealand’s complete decriminalization of prostitution in 2003. “The New Zealand model is a failed experiment,” she says. “Its social and economic costs will haunt New Zealanders for generations.”

Canada’s current law, the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act (PCEPA), was enacted in 2014. In framing prostitution as a form of violence against women and youth, it criminalizes both those who purchase commercialized sexual services and third parties, such as pimps and bawdy-house keepers, who profit from prostitution.

At the same time, it provides prostituted persons themselves with immunity from prosecution and encourages them to exit prostitution.

“Polling shows that Canadians are five times more likely to support the current law than oppose it,” Kent says. “Our politicians must find a way to work together to ensure that the small minority, who want to normalize sexual exploitation, do not succeed.

“What’s at stake are the very lives of countless Canadians — mostly women and girls — disproportionately Indigenous and immigrant. Government should be on their side, not on the side of their oppressors.”

VCASE is a non-partisan group of diverse individuals and organizations that seek to end all forms of sexual exploitation. The collective advocates for the retaining, strengthening, and enforcing of PCEPA.

VCASE’s analysis of New Zealand’s failed decriminalization

Polling data: Canadians are five times more likely to support than to oppose Canada's current prostitution legislation