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News + Events: 2010 Archives

Five Things to do in December to Put an End to Sex Trafficking


The stay to changes in Ontario's prostitution laws has been extended until April 2011, giving abolitionists time to act. Here are some suggestions for things you can do during the month of December to help put an end to trafficking and sexual exploitation.

 

5.  Write to your MP asking for the implementation of the Swedish model of law in Canada. For more

     information on the Swedish model please read 10 Reasons Not to Legalize Prostitution

 

4.  Sign REED's petition in support of the Swedish model or circulate it at your church or school or amongst

     your acquaintance. For more information on REED's petition, please contact us at info@embracedignity.org

 

3.  Read a book about trafficking and pass it on to a friend. Literature suggestions can be found here.


2.  Plan to attend a REED Resistor meeting in January and invite a friend to join you. For more information   

     about REED Resistors, please contact us at info@embracedignity.org

 

1.  Make a donation to an organization that supports abolition. To donate to REED click here

     Be sure to indicate in the 'Fund Designation' section that your donation is for REED.

     You can find other ways to donate here.



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Update on Ontario Ruling


63 days have passed since Justice Susan Himel ruled to strike down three of Ontario’s prostitution laws.  In her decision, Justice Himel concluded that laws prohibiting owning or operating a bawdy house, communicating for the purposes of prostitution and living off the avails of prostitution interfered with the rights of three women to security of person.  Himel’s September 28th decision allowed for a thirty day stay- later extended to 60 days- during which time it was expected that the conservative federal government would appeal.  The federal government have not appealed.  However, they have made clear that they intend to; federal lawyer Michael Morris made an application to Justice Mark Rosenberg of the Ontario Court of Appeal to extend the 60 day stay so that a proper appeal could be made.  Until Justice Rosenberg reaches a decision regarding the extension, the laws struck down by Justice Himel remain in place.

 

Locally, Pivot Legal Society is moving forward with their challenge of BC’s prostitution laws. Although the BC Supreme Court had struck the case out of court, the BC Court of Appeal recently decided to allow it to proceed.

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Putting an End to Exploitation is the Best Course of Action


by Christine Boyle

Vancouver Sun, October 25, 2010

 

Public debate is swirling about the impact of the recent decision, in Bedford v. Canada, to strike down much of Canada's prostitution law as it applies in Ontario. On Oct. 12, the British Columbia Court of Appeal gave the green light to the Downtown Eastside Sex Workers United Against Violence Society to argue that the same thing should be done here.

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The society's objectives include the improvement of working conditions for women in the sex trade. Other groups do not agree that prostituting others should be decriminalized. Instead, they press for what is called the Swedish or Nordic model. This involves, on the one hand, criminalization of those who prostitute others, and, on the other, welfare initiatives aimed at reducing prostitution. The Native Women's Association of Canada is a vital part of the abolition movement. Given the over-representation of, and extreme danger to, aboriginal women in the sex industry, the association's voice should be given respect. At its annual general assembly this September, the association called on the government of Canada to remove criminal prohibitions against persons selling their sexual services while retaining prohibitions against buyers, pimps, procurers and bawdy house keepers. They also called for government initiatives to increase options to keep women and girls from having to resort to, or enable them to leave, prostitution.

 

The association is not alone. The Canadian Federation of University Women has called for similar initiatives. Reflecting the connection between prostitution and other forms of violence targeted primarily against women, the Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centres has emphatically denounced the purchase of sexual services as being incompatible with the safeguarding of human rights, especially equality between women and men.

 

Such voices, including Vancouver Rape Relief and Women's Shelter, cannot be dismissed as marginal. In 1981, when Canada ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the federal government promised that it would "take all appropriate measures, including legislation, to suppress all forms of traffic in women and exploitation of prostitution of women."

 

The Ontario decision should not stand in the way of adoption of the Swedish model, which is mentioned in the case itself. Justice Susan Himel held that laws could be better tailored to the protection of "prostitutes," noting, as one example, that "Sweden, where prostitution is approached as an aspect of violence against women and children, [so] buying sex is illegal, the seller of sex is seen as a victim and not criminalized. Public education campaigns targeting buyers of sexual services have reduced demand. Intensive police training has led to a 300-per-cent increase in arrests and a reduction of complaints that the law is too difficult to enforce."

 

Further, her decision is vulnerable to appeal. It was based on harm to "prostitutes," in her view flowing from current laws, and does not suggest that the law harms buyers. Nevertheless the remedy she adopts, that of striking down a range of prostitution offences, is not tailored to the harm discussed but sweeps away the laws as they apply to buyers too.

 

Her terminology seems based on an assumption of a class of people, "prostitutes," whose choices are so constrained within that status by the current criminal laws that they are put at risk. If indeed there are people who prostitute themselves by choice they can of course avoid any harm flowing from criminalization by obeying the law. Those who don't have a choice should not be criminalized. Here again she notes the Swedish model, with its poverty-reduction measures. Of course, a person who buys the sexual services of others cannot be sure that those others are willing participants in their own prostitution.

 

The Ontario ruling is being appealed. We don't know what B.C. courts will do. However, we do not have to wait. Parliament and the provinces should join the abolition movement now.

 

Christine Boyle is a professor of law at the University of British Columbia, specializing in issues of equality and criminal law.


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Ontario Ruling Normalizes the Buying and Selling of Women


For Immediate Release


September 29, 2010

 

Ontario Court Ruling Normalizes the Buying and Selling of Women

 

Resist Exploitation, Embrace Dignity (REED) is appalled by the foolishness of the Ontario Supreme Court ruling in favour of fully decriminalizing prostitution.  The ruling is a gift to pimps and traffickers and only serves to protect the security and safety of men buying women and girls.

 

Full decriminalization of prostitution normalizes the male demand for sexual access to the bodies of women and children and reinforces gender inequality.  When buying sex is decriminalized there is an increase in trafficking and sexual exploitation. Johns become “consumers” and pimps become legitimate businessmen.

 

The average age of entry into prostitution is 14 and most women being prostituted are suffering the effects of racism, poverty, and childhood sexual assault.  The majority of women want out of prostitution, not a continuation of the trade.  Through this ruling the Canadian government is abandoning our most vulnerable citizens to the male demand for paid sex and failing to improve the lives of women. 

 

REED is asking the government to fill the legal vacuum created by this ruling with the Nordic Model of law:  decriminalize prostituted women, penalize the johns, and  provide robustly funded and accessible social services for all women.  Sweden has had excellent results in improving the lives of women through banning the purchase of sex but not the sale of sex.   In a recent independent review in Sweden it was found that the law deterred purchasers of women and girls and cut street level prostitution in half.  There is no evidence that prostitution moved indoors.

 

We agree that the status quo is not working and would like to see those exploited in prostitution decriminalized and pimps and traffickers prosecuted.  Prostitution is a form of violence against women and the perpetrators must be held accountable.

 

 

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Media Contact: 

Michelle Miller (604) 725-3838

 

 

 

 

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"Men Paid to Rape Me" via Craigslist


Craigslist has been called the modern Walmart of sex trafficking. Their sex ads continue to be a major part of the site's revenue, despite the company's insistence that it will help stop them.  Experts project that this year Craiglist will rake in $36.5 million from selling women, making up one-third of their total revenue.

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I'm Sorry Anna Nicole


Men and women, watch this and get inspired!

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Buying Sex Is Not a Sport goes to the Games


Olympic fans streaming to the arena for the men's hockey face-off between the USA and Canada were greeted by silent, peaceful witnesses for the dignity of women and against the male demand for paid sex. Partipants stood along a fence wearing bright t-shirts in Olympic colours emblazoned with the message, "Buying Sex Is Not a Sport," and holding signs saying, "Men: Don't Buy Women" and "For Prostitutes, Against Prostitution." Leaflets with a brief explanation of how the demand for paid sex is based on gender inequality and fuels the exploitation of women were handed out upon request. Perhaps the most beautiful aspect of the action was the spirit of love and nonviolence that infused such a powerful critique of gender-based violence.

 

Buying Sex Is Not a Sport is organized and supported by a broad base of community members including formerly prostituted women, feminists, faith-based organizations, Aboriginal women's groups, teachers, activists, frontline workers, students, anti-capitalists, academics, and women currently exploited in the sex industry both locally and globally.

 

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Public Witness Against Demand During the Olympics


The Buying Sex Is Not a Sport campaign is going strong with silent public witnesses against the male demand for paid sex.

 

 

             

 

 

On Saturday night a couragous group of individuals including activists, faith-based friends, feminists and others stood in front of a sex club as silent witnesses against the demand for paid sex.  Signs were held up that explained the action and informational leaflets were given out upon request. 

 

The group was clear that the action was against male demand and not the women inside.   Buying Sex Is Not a Sport stands in solidarity with women both inside and outside of the clubs.  The public witness is against the male demand.

 

The male demand for sexual access to the bodies of women and children fuels the sex industry which includes escalating sex acts such as strip bars, lap dancing, web pornography, street prostitution, escorts, brothels, body rub parlours, and the commercial sexual exploitation of children.

 

The sex industry operates on a market-based model of supply and demand. There is an uncontrolled male demand for sexual access to the bodies of women and children, and the supply for this demand is created through violating the dignity of women who are often already living in poverty or at the margins.

 

It is our conviction that in order to stem the tide of human trafficking and sexual exploitation we must end the demand for paid sex.

 

Demand flourishes in an atmosphere of anonymity.

 

Get involved in Buying Sex Is Not a Sport!

 



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Vancouver Sun Predicts the Most Popular T-shirt...Buying Sex Is Not a Sport!


"If Christian activists have their way the most popular T-shirt to emerge out of the Olympic Games, which they argue typically places prostitutes in high demand, will be the one reading, 'Buying sex is not a sport.'”

 

Douglas Todd

Vancouver Sun

January 21, 2010

 

Read full article.

 

Order your shirts here!

 



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Buying Sex Is Not a Sport Goes to Toronto


Buying Sex Is Not a Sport is going to the east coast! Join us as we speak in Toronto on how the male demand for paid sex fuels trafficking, with a focus on the upcoming Winter Games. Speakers include Aboriginal women, experiential women, frontine workers, academics and others.


January 30, 8pm

DOWNTOWN TORONTO
Walmer Road Baptist Church
188 Lowther Ave.
Toronto, ON M5R 1E8

Panelists:
Trisha Baptie, EVE (Exploited Voices Educating)
Michelle Miller, REED (Resist Exploitation, Embrace Dignity)
Cherry Smiley - AWAN (Aboriginal Womens' Action Network)

Special Guest TBA

 


February 1, 8pm
UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO

Health Sciences Building

155 College Street
6th Floor, Room 610

Panelists:
Janine Benedet, UBC Law Faculty
Trisha Baptie, EVE (Exploited Voices Educating)
Michelle Miller, REED (Resist Exploitation, Embrace Dignity)
Cherry Smiley - AWAN (Aboriginal Womens' Action Network)

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Join Us As We Imagine More For Women!


REED's campaign around the demand for paid sex and the 2010 Olympic Games, Buying Sex Is Not a Sport, has two more local forums coming up! Engage your mind, interact with the panelists, and come think well with us.  Visit the campaign website for details.

 



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