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Ontario to Traffickers: We're Open for Business

NEW YORK, Oct. 4 -- /PRNewswire/ -- In commemoration of October 5: International Day of No Prostitution, the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) stands in opposition to the Ontario Supreme Court's recent decision which voided Canada's anti-prostitution laws. The Court asserts that their ruling will lead to greater safety for women in prostitution. This decision, to the contrary, is certain to put even more women and girls at risk. It is premised on false notions and is seriously at odds with Canada's respected human rights record.

First, decriminalizing prostitution sends an unmistakable signal to pimps and human traffickers that they are welcome to conduct "business" in Canada. This is an especially dangerous message to send at a time when human trafficking is now tied with illegal arms sales as the leading source of criminal earnings in the world. Countries that have legalized prostitution have witnessed a dramatic increase in both the demand for prostitution and the incidence of sex trafficking it fuels.

Second, prostitution is a practice of sex discrimination that targets girls and women for abuse. It is a social injustice stemming from and perpetuating the world's oldest inequality, that of women. It is also inextricably linked to sex trafficking. Decriminalization of prostitution ignores the underlying social inequalities that give rise to sexual exploitation and is fundamentally at odds with the goal of human equality. The most effective way to address this injustice is to create the legal, political and social conditions that give women alternatives to prostitution rather than working to keep them in the sex industry.

Canada should decriminalize the women in prostitution and address the demand for prostitution by penalizing the buyers instead of paving the way for men to purchase women and children. A good place to start would be to adopt the Nordic Model, originated in Sweden, and passed in other countries such as Norway, Iceland, the Philippines and South Korea.

The Nordic Model is premised on the recognition that prostitution is violence against women. It also recognizes that women and girls are human beings and therefore cannot be bought or sold for commercial sexual exploitation. It criminalizes the sex industry and their customers while decriminalizing those exploited in the sex trade. By criminalizing the purchase of a sexual act, the law identifies and penalizes the agents of the harm inherent in prostitution. It is the only approach that has led to a decline in sex trafficking.

The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, the world's first organization to fight human trafficking internationally, adds our voice to those of the Canadian women's groups and human rights advocates who are calling upon their high court to reverse this decision and to legislate against the demand for commercial sexual exploitation.

SOURCE The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women

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Trafficking in Persons Report

The Secretary of State submits the annual "Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000: Trafficking in Persons Report" to Congress. This report covers "severe forms of trafficking in persons" defined as:

"(a) sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age; or (b) the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery."

Source U.S. Department of State.

Think the past slavery markets are gone?
It still continues to this day!

Report trafficking crimes or get help by calling the toll-free hotline
1-888-428-7581 (voice and TTY).

Para registrar su queja o obtener ayuda, llame gratis a
1-888-428-7581 (linea directa y de TTY para personas con incapacidad auditiva)

What is trafficking in persons?

Trafficking in persons — also known as "human trafficking" — is a form of modern-day slavery. Traffickers often prey on individuals who are poor, frequently unemployed or underemployed, and who may lack access to social safety nets, predominantly women and children in certain countries. Victims are often lured with false promises of good jobs and better lives, and then forced to work under brutal and inhuman conditions.

It is a high priority of the Department of Justice to pursue and prosecute human traffickers. Human trafficking frequently involves the trafficking of women and children for sexual exploitation, a brutal crime the Department is committed to aggressively investigating and prosecuting. Trafficking also often involves exploitation of agricultural and sweat shop workers, as well as individuals working as domestic servants.

The Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution outlaws slavery and involuntary servitude. The Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 (VTVPA) supplements existing laws and establishes new tools and resources to combat trafficking in persons and to provide services and protections for victims.

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