Legalizing prostitution won’t make women safer, a sex-trade survivor told about 200 women and 20 men at a one-day conference on human trafficking.

Just two days before the Ontario Court of Appeal released a ruling that legalized brothels while maintaining laws against pimping in the Criminal Code, Bridget Perrier told conference delegates the myth of prostitution as a choice must be challenged. The March 24 conference was organized by themy Loretto Sisters.

“We always hear that prostitution is the world’s oldest profession. I always say it’s the world’s oldest oppression,” Perrier said. “Really, it’s paid rape. It’s child abuse.”

Published in Features

Brazil is now the world’s sixth largest economy and economists project it will be the fifth largest by the end of this year. It has an advanced aerospace industry, some of the most sophisticated telecommunications companies in the world and more billionaires than Japan. It also has slaves.

Between 25,000 and 40,000 Brazilians every year are trafficked into slavery. On average, government anti-slavery teams free 4,500 people per year.

“When I went to Brazil for the first time (in the 1990s) I was far from imagining that slavery was still existing,” said French-born Dominican Brother Xavier Plassat. “For me it was a discovery.”

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TORONTO - For 400 years Loretto Sisters have been working to raise the dignity of women. It started with girls’ schools in 17th-century England, but now the Sisters want to take on criminals who sell girls into sexual slavery.

“We have to read the signs of the times, so we have to say ‘What would (Loretto founder Mary Ward) think was needed now if she were here today?’ ” said Sr. Maria Lanthier, co-ordinator of a March 24 conference on human trafficking. “This is one of the biggest issues that keeps women down — trafficking. It’s the second biggest criminal industry in the world.”

Published in Canada: Toronto-GTA
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