On December 6, Canada’s new prostitution law took effect. I’ve written several posts highlighting the different components of the new law, as well as addressed some of the criticisms arising from the pro-sex work camp. I’ve included links to these posts at the bottom of this one, but today I’d like to shift my focus to a question I’ve been pondering all week:
What steps are required in order for this law to be successful?
Passing a law is no easy task. It involves research, committee hearings and consensus-building. It includes a certain degree of public support. It requires votes from both the House and the Senate. Over the course of the last year, many Canadians have also done their part – signing petitions, writing letters, meeting with their MPs.
When a law finally gets passed, there can be a tendency to assume that nothing more is needed, that we can let down our guard and allow the issue to take care of itself. But this is precisely the time to act, to use the momentum of the new law to make real progress.
To assume that the passage of the law alone can end sexual exploitation is like hoisting up the sails and forgetting to steer the ship. The crew on a boat understand that sails are critical, but also know that getting anywhere requires wind, a compass, knowledge of the seas, good leadership, teamwork, and diligent boat maintenance. Otherwise the ship will simply drift from one current to the other, never reaching its destination. If the objective of the new prostitution bill – to prevent sexual exploitation and protect the vulnerable – is to be realized, we must look at the issue holistically and take action that is intentional, wise, and long-term.
Over the next few weeks, I will be writing a series of posts on how we can help the new law reach its objectives.
They might make some people uncomfortable and I might step on some toes. But the reality is that ending sexual exploitation is difficult and requires sacrifice. The good news is that the passage of this law has put this issue in the limelight, so let’s not waste our opportunity to make change happen.
For more of my writing on the new law: