R e p e a l i n g C a n a d a ' s P r o s t i t u t i o n L a w s?

In early 2007, the Parliamentary Subcommittee on Solicitation Laws released a report entitled “THE CHALLENGE OF CHANGE: A STUDY OF CANADA’S CRIMINAL PROSTITUTION LAWS”. The committee was comprised of 6 MPs, including 2 members of the Conservative Party, 2 members of the Liberal Party, 1 member of the Bloc Québécois and 1 member of the New Democratic Party. This study was the second attempt since 2003. The Subcommittee reviewed relevant literature and heard testimony from approximately 300 witnesses at public and private hearings and meetings across Canada from January 31 to May 30, 2005.

The committee had difficulty arriving at a consensus. Representatives from 3 or the 4 political parties felt that repealing all of Canada's prostitution laws were a reasonable option:

"Members from the Liberal, New Democratic, and Bloc Québécois Parties are of the view that sexual activities between consenting adults that do not harm others, whether or not payment is involved, should not be prohibited by the state." (ch.7.C)

The Conservative party members were the only members of the committee that were not in favor of repealing the laws:

"Unlike other parties, the Conservatives do not believe it is possible for the state to create isolated conditions in which the consensual provision of sex in exchange for money does not harm others. They believe that all prostitution has a social cost, and that any effort by the state to decriminalize prostitution would impoverish all Canadians — and Canadian women in particular — by signalling that the commodification and invasive exploitation of a woman’s body is acceptable." (ch.7. D)

The committee unanimously agreed on the following points:
-The commercial sexual exploitation of minors and trafficking in persons is unacceptable
-The status quo for prostituted persons in Canada is unacceptable
-Criminal laws pertaining to prostitution are unequally applied in Canada
-There is an urgent need for legislation and programs
-There is a need for further research and data collection