Pope Francis’ 2015 World Peace Day Message

The Vatican announced that Pope Francis’ 2015 World Peace Day message will focus on human trafficking. Read more.

World Day against Trafficking in Persons

On July 30 2014 the United Nations marked the first ever World Day against Trafficking in Persons. To commemorate the day, an event was held at the Vienna International Centre with Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in attendance.

The day was aimed at raising awareness around the global issue of trafficking and to highlight the plight of the millions of women, men and children who are victims, as well as encouraging people to take action against this crime.

For more details, click here.

Supporters and opponents of Bill C-36 have met with the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights

After 3 full days of testimonies which started last Monday, the Committee members have now heard from legal experts, academics and activists on the new prostitution bill. More than 60 parties presented in over 20 hours of hearings that began Monday July 7th and finished Thursday July 10th.

Of special note please watch

  1. Gwendolyn Allison –  Lawyer
  2. Trisha Baptie – “Exploited Voices now Educating” (EVE)
  3. Jarod and Michelle Brock – Co-founders Red Light / Green Light

We will continue to host film screenings on these dates:

As hearings continue to examine Bill C-36, we urge you to take action and write to your MP. Defend Dignity has a letter template you can use and download.

Bill C-36: The Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act

Dear fellow parishioners:

Thank you for your recent participation in our postcard campaign, urging the federal government to implement laws that:

  • decriminalize the person being sold;
  • penalize the procurers;
  • and provide funding for services for prostituted persons to exit the sex industry.

On June 4, the government tabled new legislation, Bill C-36.  It has been reviewed both by Archbishop Miller and by our study group. We are in agreement that it is a good first step in achieving an acceptable prostitution law in Canada.

Below you will find the Archbishop’s comments as well as our summary. We encourage you to write to your MP to express any concerns you may have regarding the bill or the issue of trafficking. Remember, every letter a politician receives is treated as if it represents the views of hundreds of other people. Your single letter wields great political influence.

Archbishop Miller calls Bill C-36 a good first step

” The anti-trafficking legislation introduced by the federal government last month is a welcome first step toward filling Canada’s legislative void concerning prostitution and trafficking.

Since the bill is likely to undergo revisions before its final stage, I will withhold detailed comment other than to say that this legislation addresses several of the areas of concern I have about the existing legal vacuum as well as the previous law that was struck down by the Supreme Court of Canada last year.

The bill acknowledges the need to protect human dignity and recognizes the violence, exploitation and social harm inherent in prostitution. The bill also sets out to discourage prostitution, which has a disproportionate impact on women and children. It aims to encourage those who engage in prostitution to report violence and to leave prostitution.

While I have concerns about some aspects of the bill, notably its intent to recriminalize some prostituted individuals, thereby reinforcing/perpetuating the vulnerability that the Supreme Court hoped to remove, I am hopeful that these areas can be improved upon through the contributions of experts such as our Archdiocesan study committee.

In short, Bill C-36 is headed in the right direction and I look forward to it as a reasonable response to the unacceptable legal void we have at this time, as well as an improvement on the previous law. ”

+Archbishop J. Michael Miller

RCAV trafficking study group summary

The introduction of Bill C-36, the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act, is a positive step towards a society which recognizes the dignity and equality of all persons, and opposes the commodification of the human body.

The bill is solid in its framework, notably the recognition that violence is inherent in prostitution and the social problems that contribute to the exploitation of prostituted persons.

The criminalization of those who purchase sex, or who profit from the sale of another’s body, reflects the recognition of the social harm that results from prostitution, as well as the fact that women and children are most negatively impacted.  Further, it is indisputable that johns, pimps and procurers take an inordinate toll on the lives of First Nation girls, youth and women; their predation on these communities, and on all communities, must stop.

We do have concerns with Section 213, which make it an offence for solicitation to occur anywhere in public near where one can “reasonably expect” to find persons under 18 or where prostituted persons stops or attempt to stop any motor vehicle.  We feel that this section does not fully respect the dignity of all prostituted persons and that criminalizing exploited persons opposes the spirit of the bill.

The funding pledged towards assistance for persons to exit prostitution is a concrete step towards the goal of ending the exploitation of women and children.  In order for this legislation to be implemented successfully, we urge the government to make specific provision for a public education strategy to instil a culture of respect for human dignity, in particular vulnerable women and youth.

The passing of an amended bill is a step towards a Canadian society that respects the primacy of human dignity and the fundamental equality of even the most vulnerable members of our community.

Evelyn Vollet
Director, Office of Service & Justice


Print, Share and Mail

Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB has written a pastoral letter on what he calls this “Grave Social Issue.”  The Archbishop asks the Catholic community to call on the Federal Government to pass a law respecting the dignity of every human person.As a Call to Action for our parishioners, we hope you will download this printable version of a postcard addressed to Justice Minister Peter McKay, asking him to act.Download PDF Icon the postcard and print on an 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheet of paper. Fold in half, staple, and mail (no postage necessary).Or download PDF Icon this version which prints 4 on each page.  It can be printed on card paper and cut into four.The cards can be mailed postage-free.  

 

Human TraffickingTrafficking is an insult to our human dignity. We are all persons created in God’s image never to be reduced to “objects” that can be sold or traded. As a faith community we will pray for victims of trafficking, provide education and awareness in our Archdiocese and understand if there are practical ways to collaborate to help our brothers and sisters who are being victimized.

Consider writing a letter to Your MP

The Catholic Women’s League (CWL) has created a SAMPLE letter to accompany the CWL Resolution which can be sent to all MLA’s and MP’s. They encourage everyone to write a letter to their MP to express any concerns you may have regarding the issue of Trafficking. Your letter counts as it represents 50 to 500 taxpayers who did not bother to write.

Press Release

Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB is urging the B.C. government to reconsider its decision not to prosecute prostitution-related offences following last year’s Supreme Court of Canada ruling that the laws are unconstitutional. Read more here PDF Icon.

Pastoral Letter

On May 22, 2014, Archbishop J Michael Miller, CSB issued a pastoral letter to the Catholic faithful in the Archdiocese of Vancouver about a serious threat to the moral fabric of Canadian society: the possible decriminalization of sexual exploitation through prostitution by its buyers and profiteers.  This Pastoral Letter examines what the Catholic faithful can do as a community and a nation to answer the needs of girls, youth and women who are prostituted. Read more here PDF Icon.

In February 2014, the B.C. and Yukon Catholic Bishops issued a letter urging governments to strengthen their resolve in prosecuting traffickers and called on them “always to serve the integral promotion of the human person both at home and abroad.” Read more here.

Resources

Prostitution is a colonial institution; federal bill gets that right By Trisha Baptie

Film captures testimonies of former prostitutes By Agnieszka Krawczynski

Online Public Consultation on Prostitution – Related Offices in Canada – Final Results

Recently released: An Act to amend the Criminal Code in response to the Supreme Court of Canada decision in Attorney General of Canada v. Bedford and to make consequential amendments to other Acts

 

Pope Francis: Human trafficking is ‘a crime against humanity.’

A Conference on Combating Human Trafficking took place in the Vatican from April 9-10, 2014. Read the articles below to learn more:

Pope praises police-church network to stop trafficking

Supreme Court of Canada Ruling PDF Icon.

Catholic Women’s League Resolution 2012.01: Criminalization of the Purchasing of Sexual Services.

Oldest Profession or Oldest Oppression? PDF Icon By Benjamin Perrin.

Pope Francis’ Response to Human Trafficking

Archdiocese takes action against prostitution