OTTAWA) March 8, 2013 – On International Women’s Day and every day, women across Canada and around the world should be free from slavery, violence, inequality, and exploitation. The Women’s Coalition for the Abolition of Prostitution [“the Coalition”], a pan-Canadian coalition of equality-seeking women’s groups speaks out against women’s continued exploitation through prostitution and urges Canada to denounce the exploitation and sale of women’s bodies.
The Coalition launches their “We Want More for Women” campaign today to draw attention to the lived reality of women who are trafficked and prostituted.
“Prostitution is violence against women”, said Diane Matte of the Concertation des luttes contre l’exploitation sexuelle [la CLES]. “It exists because of racism, capitalism, colonialism and women’s inequality. Women coping with very limited choices are harmed by prostitution and will be further harmed by the decriminalization of this misogynist industry and commercialization of their bodies.”
“Our efforts must be for all the women of the world who are rendered vulnerable to prostitution/trafficking not only by individual men, but especially by systemic violence and oppression. There is no choice without options,” says Michèle Audette, President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada [NWAC]. “Aboriginal women are overrepresented in prostitution. Poverty, dislocation, disconnection to their people and communities and overall marginalization within society all speak to their particular vulnerability to this violence and exploitation.”
Hilla Kerner, of the Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centers (CASAC) states: “We want more than prostitution for women. We want the Canadian state to provide liveable income to women so they don’t need to resort to prostitution and we want men who are buying and pimping women to be held accountable.”
“We denounce the buying and selling of women and children by men, as well as the criminalization of women who are stuck in prostitution”, said Candice Pilgrim of the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies. “Too many of the women we know do not have access to adequate incomes, education, or even social assistance. Most have been victimized as children and young women and their attempts to anaesthetize themselves from such realities render them vulnerable to yet more violence. No woman should have to sell her body in order to pay for housing or feed her children.”
The Coalition urges Canadians to speak out for women’s substantive equality through community resources, guaranteed liveable income, opportunity for education, access to support, et cetera, NOT through the decriminalization of the sale of their bodies for profit.
The members of the Women’s Coalition for the Abolition of Prostitution:
Vancouver: CASAC/ACCCACS – Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centres/ Association canadienne des centres contre le viol
Vancouver: Vancouver Rape Relief & Women’s Shelter
Ottawa: NWAC – Native Women’s Association of Canada
Ottawa: CAEFS – Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies
Ottawa: AOcVF – Action ontarienne contre la violence faite aux femmes
Montreal: RQCALACS – Regroupement québécois des centres d’aide et de lutte contre les agressions à caractère sexuel
Montreal: CLES – Concertation des luttes contre l’exploitation sexuelle
Diane Matte, 514-750-4536, firstname.lastname@example.org
Claudette Dumont-Smith, 613-722-3033 X 223, email@example.com
Hilla Kerner, 604 872 8212, firstname.lastname@example.org
Candice Pilgrim, 613 866 6875, email@example.com