People often enter into prostitution as a last resort. Prostitution treats people as sexual property that can be bought and sold, and violates human dignity. Prostitution is exploitation, and a form of violence, abuse and control of vulnerable women, children and men.
God calls His people to be compassionate because he has been compassionate to us. In the Old Testament, this is evident in the call to care for the poor, the widow and the orphan. In the New Testament, Jesus calls us to love our neighbours as ourselves.
Human dignity flows from God’s creation of us in His image and His love for us. This compels us to respect and uphold each person’s inherent worth, and to not treat them as objects for our gratification.
An important case in Ontario Superior Court upheld Canada's prostitution law Sept. 18, 2023. The EFC released a statement celebrating
this decision and also signed onto a joint statement
from a national working group of survivors of prostitution, service providers and advocates. The EFC intervened in the case in Oct. 2022 since it was a constitutional challenge to Canada’s laws on prostitution. The challenge was launched by the Canadian Alliance for Sex Work Law Reform. Intervener status enabled the EFC to make written and oral arguments to the Court. We argued
that the act of purchasing sexual services is exploitative in and of itself and that the current laws protect human dignity and equality.
Opposition to current laws has been ongoing for years already. For example, Bill C-75 in September 2018 threatened to weaken the good laws brought into force in 2014. The EFC defended current laws in a written brief and oral presentation
Canada’s laws on prostitution were reviewed in Parliament in early 2022. These laws target buyers of sex and pimps, based on the view that prostitution is inherently violent and exploits women and children. Sex worker groups are asking for prostitution to be decriminalized. See our page about the 2022 review of prostitution laws
. There's a sample letter there you can use to contact your MP, although note that the parliamentary review has already completed. Read our response
The EFC's support for the current laws has a long history. Before these laws were put in place, we spent several years researching and raising awareness of the effectiveness of the Nordic model of prostitution laws (adopted by Sweden, Iceland and Norway) which criminalizes customers and pimps rather than prostituted persons. We advocated extensively for the Canadian government to take this approach. With the passage of the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act
in 2014, Canada adopted a similar model of law.
The EFC works in partnership with Defend Dignity
, an initiative of the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church to end sexual exploitation, holding events across Canada to raise awareness and educate about sexual exploitation, including prostitution, human trafficking and pornography.
The EFC made a submission on Human Trafficking in Canada
to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights in late April 2018. It recommends the government maintain the current prostitution laws, renew the National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking and improve data collection.
Prostitution itself has never been illegal in Canada. Prostitution was discouraged by making the activities surrounding it illegal.
The Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling in the Bedford case struck down three prostitution-related offences: operating a brothel, communicating for the purposes of prostitution, and living on the avails of prostitution.
The EFC intervened in the Bedford case to support human dignity and to argue that treating people as commodities is contrary to human dignity. The EFC’s legal counsel argued that prostitution arises from the historical subordination of women, and the historical assumed right of men to buy and exchange women as objects for sexual use. The EFC’s factum also argued that decriminalizing or legalizing prostitution leads to increased rates of human trafficking and victimization of vulnerable people, as evidenced in countries like New Zealand or Germany.
The federal government responded to the Bedford decision by passing the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act, in 2014. This law makes it an offence to buy sexual services or to profit from the sexual exploitation of another person. The legislation also makes it an offence to advertise the sale of another person’s sexual services in print media or online, or to sell sexual services in a public location where someone under 18 years of age could reasonably be expected to be present.
The EFC supports the Nordic model of prostitution laws (adopted by Sweden, Iceland and Norway) that criminalizes pimps and customers, and provides assistance to leave prostitution.