The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada responds to Justice Susan Himel’s decision to throw out Canada’s restrictions on prostitution. Don Hutchinson, vice-president and general legal counsel for the EFC, said:
“This is an opportunity for the Government of Canada to take strong action that will affirm the value and dignity of all Canadian women. It is a defining moment in which they can affirm that, as a nation, we will not condone the exploitation of some for the gratification of others.”
Julia Beazley, a policy analyst for the EFC, said:
“We strongly disagree that the suspension of prostitution laws will lead to greater protection of prostituted women. The reality is that there is no such thing as safe prostitution … to state that human trafficking is incidental to prostitution in the very same month that an RCMP report on human trafficking in Canada clearly identifies the link between organized prostitution and human trafficking is at best naïve, and at worst irresponsible.”
Andrea Mrozek, manager of research and communications for the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada, writes in today’s Toronto Sun:
Prostitution is dangerous whether legal or illegal. Furthermore, it’s not a choice. The vast majority of women come to it through drug and sexual abuse, mental health problems and extreme poverty.
Maintaining strict laws is about protecting women who are abused by the very way in which they survive. This is also about the kind of country we want to live in.
“You will never have equality between men and women if you allow men who have money in their pockets the right to buy a body,” says Victor Malarek, author of The Johns, a book which puts a face, and not a pretty one, on men who use prostitutes.
Mrozek supports the Swedish model that focuses on punishing those who procure rather than provide sex for money, and assists women to get out of the sex trade. For more information about the Swedish model, read the EFC report, “Selling Ourselves: Prostitution in Canada, Where are we headed?” My guess is that the activists who brought this case forward would not be pleased with the implicit moralizing of the Swedish model that still assumes that women should receive help exiting an abusive and exploitive industry.
The Ottawa Citizen editorializes in favour of a Parliamentary discussion that protects both prostitutes and the communities they work in by regulating prostitution. Perhaps the Swedish model of targeting johns rather than prostitutes is the correct way, but there will still be plenty of progressives who won’t want to see any hint in our laws that selling sex is something that is morally questionable.
I do agree, however, with the Citizen when it says that parliamentarians should not be afraid to discuss the issue and that it is wrong “to avoid the question, as it has avoided abortion, same-sex marriage, polygamy and other difficult social issues.” One reason why judges bring it upon themselves to legislate from the bench is there is a policy discussion void in the proper political circles because our elected officials are too scared or ill-equipped to debate moral issues.