Supreme Blunder on Prostitution

Supreme Blunder on Prostitution


Yesterday the Supreme Court gave us an ugly lump of coal for an early Christmas present, striking down Canada's prostitution laws. In an unanimous 9-0 ruling, they judged the current laws (prohibiting owning a brothel; living on the avails of prostitution; and street soliciting) as a violation of the charter rights to life, liberty, and security of the person. Parliament now has one year to come up with new legislation. 

Gee... Thanks?

While being hailed as a victory by prostitution advocates, others warn that deeper problems are on the horizon if decriminalization occurs. Kevin Ryan, the president of Covenant House (a group of shelters for street youth) lists the countries which have legalized prostitution and seen dramatic increases in human trafficking and child prostitution.

"We have grave concerns about the impact on vulnerable and homeless youth who are regularly targeted by those who force them into the sex trade," said Bruce Rivers, the executive director Covenant House Toronto, which serves 3,000 homeless, runaway and trafficked youth annually... Today's decision, which struck down laws against brothels, street solicitation, and living off the profits of prostitution "does not address the plight of those who are being sexually exploited, particularly the young," he said.      

Ryan also cites a recent study which shows that 85-95% of prostituted people wish to leave their situation. And former prostitutes and brothel managers are decrying the ruling as bad news for vulnerable women. 

I think it's unquestionable that Canadians deserve better than what the courts have just offered them. We need laws which severely punish pimps and procurers of prostitution, and prohibit the sale of sex. We also need strong support systems for people trying to leave the sex trade.

The Catechism calls prostitution a social scourge. "Prostitution does injury to the dignity of the person who engages in it, reducing the person to an instrument of sexual pleasure (2355)." Is that something we want to make easier in Canada? 

We're better than this and we deserve better than this, so let's not sit on the sidelines and watch this play out. Let's ensure that by the end of the reprieve year, laws which protect vulnerable citizens AND uphold the good of society are in place.

Please contact your MP and let them know that you do not want the normalization of prostitution in Canadian culture. An email and/or a phone call actually can have an impact.

And let's pray for our judges, lawmakers, and ourselves, that we can all learn to really cherish and revere each other, not objectify and use each other.

Hail Mary…

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