Mr. Speaker, March 8 is International Women's Day, an opportunity to celebrate the progress that has been made toward equality for women worldwide.
Sadly, many women and girls in Canada continue to face injustice and inequality through prostitution. Our nation is now at a tipping point. We must ensure that we do not legalize an industry that promotes and normalizes the exploitation of women at the hands of pimps and johns, nor should we continue to treat prostitution as a nuisance.
Canada must take an approach that recognizes the inherent harm of prostitution to our most vulnerable citizens. We must adopt a made-in-Canada approach that severely punishes pimps and johns without criminalizing the victims, that provides robust programs to help women exit prostitution,and that fully reflects the equality of women as human beings, not objects to be bought and sold.
Today, as we are reminded of the progress of women's equality, let us be resolved to stand ever stronger against sex slavery and gender violence. We can do better.
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