On Nov. 4, 2014, Canada’s Senate approved Bill C-36, the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act, little less then a month after the House of Commons passed the same version and sent it to the Upper House. The Bill has also received Royal Assent, the formal approval of Canada’s constitutional monarch, on November 6 and will be adopted into law in 30 days.
The legislation, which will replace a prior prostitution law expiring next month and found unconstitutional last year, will criminalize the purchase of commercial sex as well as any third party activity that benefits from commercial sexual exploitation. In other words, the new law will work to hold the true beneficiaries of the sex trade – the pimps, traffickers, procurers and buyers of sex – accountable, while exempting from punishment the sale of sex in most cases. Bill C-36 also provides for delivery of services to those individuals who wish to exit the sex trade.
The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) remains disappointed that Bill C-36 does not release all persons in prostitution from prosecution, but recognizes that the new law remains a critical victory towards combating commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking. CATW congratulates our partners in Canada and others who relentlessly worked to help pass this bill in the Canadian Parliament.