Protecting the wellbeing of Canadians our top job
Thursday, Jun 26, 2014 11:18 am
This week, I would like to address one of the most hotly debated subjects in recent months: Our nation’s laws regarding prostitution.
Last December, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that three Criminal Code prostitution-related offences were unconstitutional. The Court gave Parliament one year to address the issue, before striking the laws from the books altogether.
Following extensive consultations, and thousands of letters from concerned Canadians, our government responded by introducing The Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act in Parliament, on June 4.
This “made-in-Canada” model directly targets the demand for this inherently dangerous activity, taking tough action to crack down on pimps and johns.
The facts are clear. Prostitution hurts communities and the most vulnerable Canadians. We are committed to protecting Canadians by making it illegal to sell sexual services in or near any public place where children could be present.
The proposed legislation will protect our communities - in particular women, children, and those who are at risk of being drawn into prostitution - from the dangers associated with prostitution, including violence, drug-related crime, and organized crime.
This Canadian model involves a significant overhaul of the Criminal Code’s treatment of prostitution and related activities.
It will criminalize those who purchase sex; continue to criminalize those who financially benefit from the exploitation of prostitutes; prohibit advertising in print or online; prohibit the sale of sexual services in public places where a child could reasonably be expected to be present; and increase penalties relating to child prostitution.
For a closer look at the changes, go online to www.justice.gc.ca
These measures will be supported by $20 million in new funding, including for grassroots organizations dealing with the most vulnerable prostitutes. Recognizing that the overwhelming majority of prostitutes are looking to leave this dangerous and harmful line of work, there will be an emphasis on funding programs with a proven record of helping prostitutes exit the sex trade. I believe the government’s top job is protecting the safety of Canadians and the wellbeing of communities.
This proposed legislation protects both.