Though I usually do not enter the political sphere of things here in Canada or elsewhere there is a legislative change down the pipeline that I just can’t avoid to mention. It matters too much. There are to many lives at stake. The case I refer to (Bedford vs. Canada) has made the Supreme Court of Canada ask the Federal government to come up with a suggestion for new legislation concerning prostitution, the world oldest form of oppression, because they ruled the current law around prostitution (operating a bawdy house, living of the avails, communicating for the purpose of prostitution) unconstitutional. While the federal government does this, the current laws are in effect.
In the world of advocacy there are two sides crystalizing, and mobilizing, one side concerned with human dignity (I’m not intending to be objective here) are advocating for the criminalization of the buying of sexual services and the decriminalization of the selling of sexual services, called the ‘Nordic Model’. The other side advocates for the legalization of prostitution. I realize that the ‘Nordic Model’ has its flaws but it is just so much more respectful towards the human person than the alternative.
We are talking about a greater problem here. All investigations and stats show that where prostitution is legalized human trafficking goes up. It is an invitation to the oppressor to oppress without consequence. Pornography, prostitution and human trafficking are intrinsically connected. 95% of woman that are prostituted/in prostitution does not want to be. Human beings are being trafficked because there is a demand to buy sex (Super Bowl). Porn producers make porn movies because there is a demand for it and they make money of it. This demand will increase if the law opens the door to such behavior. The advocates of the legalization say that every woman should have a right to decide over their body and this is what I’m saying as well, but I mean something different. A great majority of prostituted woman in Canada are just that, prostituted. They are not prostitutes. They did not choose to live this life. They where tricked, coerced, trafficked, sold, forced, manipulated or had to enter it because there was no other way to provide food for their kids or money for their addiction (very often created by the pimp). But choosing because they wanted it, out of free will and a desire, common, not very many women do that, and we know that. The few women that want this life style has become the excuse some advocates use to hide the abuse. A woman should have the right to decide over her body, that is, she should have the right not to have to sell it. If we view it from a strict legal point of view there are just more woman that would enjoy the right to decide over her own body if it was a crime to buy sex. There are plenty more victims of prostitution then there are woman choosing it out of their own desire to make money on selling their bodies. The possibility of jail time/exposure/public service would make the johns think not only two times but even three or four. And if they do, they have a greater chance of starting to deal with their pornographic addiction before it goes further (“Some men viewing pornography keeps it at that, but all men buying sexual services has viewed pornography.” – Quote from director of a John school). If demand were down it would be harder for pimps and traffickers to sell living beings, mostly woman and children. Even though the Nordic Model is the, so far, best legislation in terms of protecting woman from having to sell their bodies it’s not the fundamental answer. The answer lies within the only true battlefield there is, namely the heart and in particular, the hearts of men.
Our bodies are theology as Pope John Paul said. God can reveal Himself to us through the body. We are created in His image and so we have divine attributes and eternal longings. As Christians we know this. But in the pews of North American churches there sits 50% men addicted to pornography (www.covenanteyes.com/pornstats). There is a big disconnect in knowing that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit in our mind and our bodies behaving like we know this. The problem is not solved by legislation because legislation can’t cut demand down to zero. Legislation, the Law, can only shed light on the problem. Bring the dirt out into the open. It can’t erase the problem. It can’t transform the dirt into flowers, only Resurrection can. It is only Christ resurrection that can make whole the gaps between the heart, the soul, the mind and the body so that we may love truly.
So I advocate the ‘Nordic Model’ as new legislation in Canada because it shines more light than a ‘legalization’ of prostitution. It cares more about the dignity of the body. It says that a human body is not for buying. Personally and many with me believe the body is not for selling either, but one step at a time, we need to take care of the woman, children and men trapped in the prison of prostitution before we criminalize the selling. The body is not made for transactions at all; it’s made for transformation. Transformation into His likeness. Ultimately the body is not a ‘right’ at all, it is a gift and if we keep that in mind then maybe, just maybe, the attitude in our hearts would start to change.
Prostitution is not the world oldest profession; it is the world’s oldest oppression. It oppresses the ones caught in its claws because it makes the body into an idol rather than a temple. It makes the body stand before anything else and this is also what the word means. (Pro – before + statuo – erect, to stand) It would be impossible to worship the body if we truly acknowledge that it is created out of love from God and as a gift from Him to us. If we incarnated that knowledge by asking Christ to heal us, demand would be zero. For this I pray, for this I prostrate myself.
For all the men and women out there struggling with this idolatry/addiction of the body I want to give you the following advice. Pray for a renewed revelation concerning purity. Reveal your struggle to your spiritual guide/confessor/trusted friend/counselor. Acknowledge your addiction in a safe environment, seek the local church out. Let the Light in because It’s already morning.
More on the subject and links to take action: