Canada’s current prostitution laws target the demand for paid sex, an approach which is essential to fighting sexual exploitation. If the laws to curb demand are removed and sex buying is legitimized, the demand for paid sex will increase. Read part 1 in our blog series on why Canada’s prostitution laws are essential.
Targeting the demand for paid sexual services is essential to fighting sexual exploitation. If the laws to curb demand are removed and sex buying is legitimized, the demand for paid sex will increase.
Prostitution and sex trafficking are not the same, but they are inextricably linked. Research shows that the prostitution industry flourishes without laws to limit demand, and the rates of trafficking of women and children into the commercial sex trade increase.
Traffickers are motivated by profit, and unrestricted demand increases the potential for profit. As long as there is a demand for paid sex, there will be traffickers to guarantee a steady supply of women, girls and boys are available for purchase. As Dr. Melissa Farley has said, “Prostitution is where human trafficking happens.”
A study of European cross-country data reveals that human trafficking is most prevalent in countries where prostitution is legalized. Another study of European Union data finds that, when other factors are controlled, legalized prostitution increases the rate of human trafficking. An empirical analysis of 150 countries concluded that “On average, countries where prostitution is legal experience larger reported human trafficking inflows.”
The source of violence and stigma related to prostitution is not the laws a given country has on paper. Rather, it is the belief that men are entitled to paid sexual access to women’s bodies, and that this paid access entitles men to do what they want. If those beliefs are not challenged, the misogynistic attitudes and behaviours that are the source of the stigma and violence will persist.
One of the objectives of Canada’s prostitution laws, the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act (PCEPA) is to reduce the demand for prostitution. They focus the attention on the sex buyer and on third parties who would profit from the exploitation of others.
The EFC believes Canada must maintain laws to reduce the demand for paid sex, such as PCEPA, or the incidence of sex trafficking would surely increase to meet an unrestricted demand.
Based on the EFC submission to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights on the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act (PCEPA), February 25, 2022.
For more information on the review of the prostitution laws in Feb/Mar 2022, see www.TheEFC.ca/prostitution-law-review.