Ottawa, September 29 2010 – Police raids on illegal brothels in the Lower Mainland revealed that over 90% of women prostituted out of the illegal brothels were Asian. The decision by the Ontario Supreme Court to strike down laws that criminalize prostitution activity offers human traffickers, pimps and johns greater legitimacy while stripping away a means for police to use the law in order to stem human trafficking into prostitution.
Asian countries are recognized by the UN, RCMP and the US State Department as source countries for international human trafficking into prostitution. They also identify Canada as a destination and transit country. An estimated 600-800 people are trafficked into Canada with another estimated 1,500-2,000 trafficked through Canada. Once in Canada, Asian women are trafficked within the country into brothels and massage parlours.
Domestic trafficking is consistently a factor in the prostitution of Aboriginal women who are more visible in street level prostitution. Violence, racism and exploitation are consistent experiences for both Aboriginal and Asian women regardless of whether they are bought and sold indoors or on the street.
The Asian Women Coalition Ending Prostitution challenges the promotion and imposition of prostitution on Asian women at home in Canada and in our countries of origin throughout Asia.
It is entirely possible to end the practice of prostitution. A first progressive step would be to immediately adopt the Nordic Model which criminalizes procurers, pimps and johns while recognizing and providing resources to address the systemic inequalities that press women into prostitution so that women are not subject to arrest or criminal charges.
Canada can create a better future for women than that which normalizing prostitution provides.