Prostitution

Principles

A central message of the Bible is for God's people to be compassionate, because God has been compassionate to them. 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 his followers to love their neighbours as themselves. 

The Issue

People often enter into prostitution as a last resort. It is a dangerous way to earn money due to the risk of violence at the hands of pimps and customers, and the long-term physical effects of sexually transmitted diseases, such as hepatitis and AIDS. Prostitutes who have pimps often are coerced to remain in prostitution.

The Badgley Committee, established by the government in 1980 to study sexual offences against children, reported in 1984 that: "the ingrained pattern of exploitation, disease and violence in the daily lives of juvenile prostitutes is unmistakable...."[1]

Prostitution is dehumanizing. Like pornography, prostitution focuses only on the sexual dimension of human nature to the exclusion of all else, creating a distorted perspective of people, their worth and their proper place in society. Prostitution makes something very intimate, intended for a loving, life-long relationship between husband and wife, into a commercial transaction between strangers.

The preamble of a 1949 UN Convention states, "... prostitution and the accompanying evil of the traffic in persons for the purpose of prostitution are incompatible with the dignity and worth of the human person and endanger the welfare of the individual, the family and the community."[2]

Footnotes: [1] Badgley Committee: Sexual Offences Against Children, Ottawa: Supply and Services Canada, 1984, p. 91. [2] UN Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others.


In Rethinking Prostitution in Canada, EFC Policy Analyst Julia Beazley discusses some misconceptions about the issue of prostitution, advocating a different understanding of what is mistakenly termed the world's oldest profession, and suggesting a better, more just way forward.

Current Status

In June 2014, the Federal Government proposed new prostitution laws for Canada in Bill C-36. See the EFC's initial responses and more comprehensive presentations made to committees reviewing the bill in the House of Commons (July 2014) and the Senate (Sept. 2014) on our EFC prostitution resources webpage. See the EFC's response to the new laws being enacted.

The changes stem back to an Ontario court case which in 2010 struck down several prostitution laws.

Read EFC statements and activities related to prostitution at our special Prostitution Reform Page at theEFC.ca/ProstitutionLawReform.

Alberta has passed a law on child prostitution that allows police and social workers to have child prostitutes confined up to five days for their own protection.

Prostitution is an international issue, as prostitutes may be moved across borders by traffickers, and tourism to countries with high populations of child prostitutes has increased. Canada has committed itself internationally to discourage the practice of prostitution, signing the UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women in 1979.