Over 2,200 "advocates, women’s rights and anti-trafficking organizations, sex tradesurvivors, survivor-led networks, and concerned individuals from around the world dedicated to protecting the human rights of women and girls" have signed an Open Letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau demanding that his government reject calls to repeal the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act (PCEPA).
The letter is in response to a proposal by the Young Liberals of Canada which the letter describes as "incomprehensible"
As the letter notes:
The law decriminalizes prostituted individuals, who are mostly women, offering them services, and targets sex buyers, who are almost unanimously men, for the harm they cause in prostitution. The law’s goal is to end the commercial sexual exploitation of individuals, protect human rights, especially those of women and girls, and it recognizes that sex buyers fuel the global multibillion dollar sex trade. While the law still inappropriately criminalizes prostituted women in certain circumstances PCEPA embodies the notion that the best way to eradicate the pervasive harms of prostitution is to end its practice.The approach embodied in the PCEPA is known as the Nordic Model from its origins in Sweden and other Scandinavian countries. While the Nordic Model has been much maligned by many North American liberals, it is based on solidly social democratic, socialist and feminist principles.
Some very good places to learn about the Nordic Model from these perspectives include the exceptionally comprehensive Speaking of Prostitution which was written by a Swedish feminist and socialist collective, as well as Nordic Model Now!'s What is the Nordic Model?, the London Abused Women's Centre's page The Nordic Model, the report Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking of Aboriginal Women and Girls by the Native Women’s Association of Canada, among many others.
The article The German model is producing hell on earth! provides a look at what decriminalizing pimps and johns has meant in Germany, while A Union of Pimps and Johns looks at how supposed sex workers "unions" are often not really what they purport to be.
As the letter states:
Prime Minister Trudeau, we want to bring to your attention that the term “sex work” was coined by the sex industry itself, and those with specific interests in it, to normalize and mask the harms, exploitation, and discriminatory practices that are inherent to prostitution. Prostitution is neither “sex” nor “work” but the essence of a complex multi-billion dollar global sex trade, whose bedrock is misogyny, colonization, racism and violence against women.Towards the end the Open Letter notes that:
It is also vital to understand that the decriminalization of “sex work,” which the Young Liberals are proposing, does not just decriminalize those being bought for sex. The PCEPA already protects prostituted people from arrests, with the above-mentioned exceptions. Instead, the proposal to be tabled this week calls for the decriminalization of pimping, brothel owning and sex buying. Decriminalizing the systems of prostitution triggers the expansion of a market of commercial sexual exploitation that disastrously renders the sex trade as a legitimate business and employer, a system that richly profits from the abuse, and even death, of women and girls. If Canada were to legalize the purchase of male sexual access to women’s bodies, it would also spark an increase in sex trafficking, including of minors, to meet the consequent state sanctioned demand for prostitution.To read the full text of the Open Letter click here.
See also: Children are never "sex workers" -- They are victims of rape and child abuse
See also: On Pornography and the Persistence of Patriarchy