Advocating internationally on prostitution

28 June 2024

Recently the EFC had the opportunity to collaborate on a video statement to the UN Human Rights Council. Together with the World Evangelical Alliance and the Salvation Army, we affirmed a report that examined how prostitution impacts women and girls globally.

The EFC welcomed this report given by the Special Rapporteur on violence against women and girls, as it clearly links prostitution to different forms of violence against women and girls and names prostitution as a form of violence in and of itself.

Why does the EFC engage on the issue of prostitution?

As we said in our brief to the UN Special Rapporteur, prostitution violates human dignity and exploits those who are vulnerable. It degrades people – treating them like a commodity. As Christians, we know that humans are so much more than that. We all are unique, created in the image of God, after His likeness, loved by Him, and with inherent dignity.

God calls His people to stand up for this truth, to fight for those who are vulnerable, and to show compassion. In the Old Testament, this is evident in the call to care for people who are poor, widowed and orphaned. In the New Testament, Jesus calls us to love our neighbours as ourselves. We must respect and uphold each person’s inherent worth, and not stand for them being treated as objects for another’s personal gratification.

The EFC worked hard to see the purchase of sexual services criminalized in Canada. We have defended these prostitution laws, known as the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act in court, and will soon do so again.

We continue to call upon the Canadian government to uphold our prostitution laws, and we advocate for laws that view prostitution as a form of sexual exploitation that disproportionately and negatively impacts women and girls.

Why does the EFC engage internationally?

In January 2024, the EFC responded to a call for input from the Special Rapporteur on violence against women and girls for her report. This was the first time that the EFC has participated in a Special Rapporteur’s consultation.

We chose to participate because this is an international discussion of the violence inherent in prostitution. The push for decriminalization is taking place in many countries, not just in our own. As well, the United Nations provides a forum through which organizations like the EFC can call on the Canadian government to act on pressing issues such as prostitution.

Interestingly, in her press conference Special Rapporteur Ms. Reem Alsalem describes how she came to this report with a very open mind, without any predisposed positions. She had used the term “sex work” in previous reports, however, after reviewing the evidence and listening to the victims, she now understands the realities and harms of prostitution in a much different way. It is an encouraging story that reminds us that when an idea is researched and discussed, perspective can change.

What can you do?

Give thanks! As Psalm 118 says, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.”

  • We are thankful that the Special Rapporteur released this report and that we were able to advocate on this issue at an international level.
  • We are thankful that the report findings affirmed many of the arguments we presented in our brief.
  • We are thankful for the prostitution laws we have in Canada, and we pray that they are upheld.

Related resources

UN Geneva flags photo by Mathias Reding on Unsplash.