Majority of Ontarians oppose any change to current prostitution laws: Ipsos

File photo. VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images

While the Liberal party plans to run in the next election on a platform that includes decriminalizing prostitution, a new poll released by the London Abused Women’s Centre shows it’s an unpopular position.

The Liberals voted in April in favour of a resolution calling to reverse the current law, Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act (PCEPA) — which decriminalizes prostituted persons but still criminalizes pimps, brothels, and sex buyers — and to instead completely decriminalize prostitution.

The London Abused Women’s Centre (LAWC) and two international groups, Equality Now and the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) reached out to Ipsos to conduct a poll to see what Ontarians think. The results show that 58 per cent would oppose any changes to the current law.

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“We’re hoping finally we can close the book on this chapter,” said LAWC executive director Megan Walker.

“We’re also hopeful that the Liberals will look at this and say, ‘You know what? People don’t support pimps, people don’t support brothels, and people don’t support sex buyers exploiting women.'”

According to those polled, 75 per cent think prostitution is harmful to women and girls, 77 per cent feel most women and girls do not want to have repeated sex with random men, 58 per cent do not view prostitution as a job like any other, 78 per cent would not support their family members purchasing sexual services from a prostituted person, and 85 per cent would not support prostitution as a job for their loved ones.

“It’s difficult to fathom how a politician could support something like this — decriminalizing prostitution — but not understand the connection between doing that for some women but not for their own loved ones and children. The numbers are absolutely compelling.”

The poll was conducted by Ipsos between June 25-27 and involved a sample of 801 Ontarians age 18 and older. Ipsos reports the poll is accurate “to within  ±4.0 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Ontarian adults been polled.”


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