Canada

Canada: Pass legislation to prevent the sexual exploitation of women & girls

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
2014 Apr 14
Update: 

TAKE ACTION NOW! << Click on this link to send all letters below online.

UPDATE 12 NOVEMBER 2014: Fantastic news — Bill C-36 passed in Canada and received Royal Assent — making it official law — on 6 November! Many thanks to all of you who took action! Equality Now and our partners welcome the law's focus on buyers and pimps, and while certain problematic provisions criminalizing the selling of sex remain we hope these are addressed in the future as the law is reviewed. In the meantime, Equality Now will continue to support our partners in Canada to ensure the law is implemented and work toward a culture of equality where women and girls are free from exploitation. Thank you for all of your support!


7 OCTOBER 2014 UPDATE: Great news - On 6 October, Bill C-36 passed Canada's House of Commons. Thank you for all of your support and for writing to lawmakers! The bill now goes back before the Senate to be voted on. Stay tuned for further updates.


9 SEPTEMBER 2014 UPDATE: The bill to reform Canada’s prostitution laws, Bill C-36, is making its way through Canada’s legislature and is currently in the Senate, Canada’s upper house of parliament. In early July, our partners gave powerful testimonies at the House of Commons Justice Committee hearings on the bill, detailing the realities of prostitution and emphasizing that the decriminalization of people in prostitution, combined with the criminalization of buyers, pimps and brothel keepers, is the most effective way to reduce sex trafficking and exploitation (access videos and hearing minutes here). Though the House made changes to the bill, we remain concerned that Bill C-36 still allows criminalization of people in prostitution.

The Senate’s Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs is holding hearings on the bill between 9 -11 September. Equality Now and our partners need your support to help ensure that the bill adequately addresses sex trafficking and protects the most vulnerable! Please take part in our social media campaign and call on the key Senators below to ensure that the bill fully decriminalizes people who sell sex, while maintaining criminalization on pimps, brothel-keepers and those who buy sex. During the upcoming hearings, please also watch and support our partners EVE, SexTrade101, and the London Abused Women’s Centre when they testify on 10 September (all hearings will be streamed live ). Thank you!


23 JUNE 2014 UPDATE: On 16 June, the government’s bill reforming Canada’s prostitution laws passed its second reading in the House of Commons and was referred to the Justice Committee (note: bills must undergo three readings and a committee stage in the House of Commons and also pass in the Senate, and then receive Royal Assent before becoming law). The Committee will meet the week of 7 July to hear testimony on the bill. This will be a good opportunity for the bill to be amended to truly protect the human rights of people in prostitution. Please continue to call on the Canadian government to ensure that the bill fully decriminalizes people who sell sex, while maintaining criminalization on pimps, brothel-keepers and those who buy sex.


6 JUNE 2014 UPDATE: Thousands of you called on the Canadian government to introduce a law to better protect women and girls – in line with the Nordic model – and we can report that we’re halfway there! On 4 June, Canadian Justice Minister Peter MacKay introduced a bill to reform Canada’s prostitution laws. The bill criminalizes those who buy sex, pimps, brothel-keepers and those who advertise another person for prostitution. The government has also pledged C$20 million in funding for support services, with an emphasis on assisting those who would like to exit prostitution. Both measures are vital in helping to rectify the stark gender, race, ethnic and socio-economic inequalities evident in the prostitution industry.

Equality Now and our Canadian partners welcome these measures, but we are very concerned that the bill does not fully decriminalize those who sell sex. While the bill protects people in prostitution from criminal sanctions in many areas, it also maintains some criminalization. We and our partners – including survivors of sexual exploitation, many of whom entered prostitution as children – recognize that, more often than not, prostitution is not entered into out of choice, but rather through lack of choice. Any criminalization of people in prostitution would result in the added punishment, further victimization and increased marginalization of many who are already victims of heinous crimes and human rights violations.

We are working to ensure that Canada enacts legislation that will truly protect the human rights of people in prostitution while preventing future exploitation in the commercial sex industry. Stay tuned for further updates and information on how you can help.


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TAKE ACTION NOW! << Click on this link to send all letters below online.

What You Can Do: 

TAKE ACTION NOW! << Click on this link to send all letters below online.

Please join Equality Now and our Canadian partners EVE, Sextrade101, and the London Abused Women’s Centre in calling on the government to enact legislation in line with the Nordic Model that will protect the human rights of people in prostitution while preventing future exploitation in the commercial sex industry.

Letters should go to:

The Honourable Senator Bob Runciman
Chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs
Email: bob.runciman@sen.parl.gc.ca
Telephone: (+1) 613 943-4020
Fax: (+1) 613-943-4022
Mailing address:
351 East Block
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A4

The Honourable Senator George Baker
Deputy Chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs
Email: george.baker@sen.parl.gc.ca
Telephone: (+1) 613-947-2517
Fax: (+1) 613-947-1525
Mailing address:
Senate of Canada
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A4

The Honourable Senator Mobina S.B. Jaffer
Member of the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs
Email: mjaffer@sen.parl.gc.ca
Telephone: (+1) 613-992-0189
Fax: (+1) 613-992-0673
Mailing address:
140 Wellington Street Suite, 900
Senate of Canada
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A4

Letters: 

Dear Senator,

I urge you to listen to the survivors of sex trafficking and sexual exploitation advocating for the Canadian government to pass legislation that criminalizes those who pay for sex acts while decriminalizing and ensuring support for women in prostitution – known as the “Swedish” or “Nordic” model. After the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the prostitution laws as unconstitutional, your government has a vital opportunity to better protect people in prostitution, prevent sex trafficking and promote gender equality by joining other progressive countries that have adopted the Nordic model.

The exploitation of women and girls in the commercial sex industry is a human rights violation and a cause and consequence of gender, racial, ethnic, economic and other inequalities. While precise numbers are difficult to obtain, it is clear that the vast majority of those in prostitution are women, and that many enter as children. In addition, women and girls from marginalized communities are overrepresented. As many women and girls are not in prostitution through choice, but rather lack of choice, people in prostitution must not be criminalized, but instead should have access to comprehensive assistance and services.

The Nordic model has been adopted in Sweden, Norway, and Iceland, and is currently being considered by the parliaments of France, Ireland and Northern Ireland. I join Equality Now, EVE (formerly Exploited Voices now Educating), Sextrade 101 and the London Abused Women’s Centre in calling on the Canadian government to live up to its obligations under international law, including the UN Trafficking Protocol and UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, to address the demand for prostitution that fuels sex trafficking and to protect people in prostitution by ensuring that Bill C-36:

1.    Decriminalizes people in prostitution (i.e. people selling sex),
2.    Criminalizes those who pay for sex acts, brothel-keepers, pimps and procurers, and
3.    Mandates robust funding for services for people in prostitution, including assistance for those who wish to exit prostitution.

Thank you for your attention.

Yours sincerely,

Canada: Saudi Arabian Refugee Fleeing Gender Discrimination Allowed to Remain in Canada

Update: 
UPDATE
Date: 
1993 Feb 1

The Saudi Arabian woman known publicly as "Nada," has been authorized by the Canadian Employment and Immigration Minister Bernard Valcourt to request permanent residence status in Canada. Nada arrived in Canada on April 5, 1991 seeking asylum as a refugee on the basis of gender discrimination she faced in her home country. On September 24, 1991 the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board ruled that Nada was not a refugee.

What You Can Do: 

Please write to and/or call Mr. Bernard Valcourt, the Canadian Employment and Immigration Minister, welcoming his intervention on behalf of Nada and his broader efforts to address the issue of refugee status on grounds of gender discrimination. Letters, faxes, and telephone calls should be directed to:

The Honorable Bernard Valcourt
Minister of Employment and Immigration
140 Promenade du Portage, Phase IV, 14th Floor
Hull, Québec, K1A 0J9
Canada
Telephone: 819-994-2482
Fax: 819-994-0448

Canada: Saudi Arabian Refugee Fleeing Gender Discrimination Not Welcome in Canada

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
1992 Oct 1

The Saudi Arabian refugee known publicly as "Nada" arrived in Canada on April 5, 1991 seeking asylum as a refugee on the basis of gender discrimination she faced in her home country of Saudi Arabia. Despite the violence suffered by Nada in Saudi Arabia for her defiance of institutionalized gender discrimination, Nada's request for asylum has been denied by the Canadian Government.

What You Can Do: 

Please write to and/or call Mr. Bernard Valcourt, the Canadian Employment and Immigration Minister, and ask him to intervene on behalf of Nada to prevent her deportation to Saudi Arabia and to allow her to remain in Canada. Remind him that Canada holds itself out to the world as a leader in the promotion of gender equality and that the deportation of Nada and the remarks made by Commissioner Louis Dorion in his decision are inconsistent with Canadian obligations under international law and with the spirit of gender equality enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Human Rights. You may also wish to contact the Canadian Embassy in your country and convey your sentiments about this case to them. Please also contact your local media and ask them to publicize the plight of Nada. Letters, faxes, and telephone calls should be directed to:

The Honorable Bernard Valcourt
Minister of Employment and Immigration
140 Promenade du Portage, Phase IV, 14th Floor
Hull, Québec, K1A 0J9
Canada
Telephone: 819-994-2482
Fax: 819-994-0448

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