BARBADOS, Sept 21, 2006 -- The Evangelical community across the Caribbean is deeply concerned about the proposal to license sex workers in the region for the Cricket World Cup. We are unalterably opposed to such a move. Our position is taken on these grounds:
- Prostitution exploits women and reinforces the male dominance of the woman in a manner that is unacceptable in the twenty-first century.
- Decriminalisation dignifies pimps, brothels, and sex clubs – something that is abhorrent to every Christian.
- Decriminalisation actually aids the trafficking of women and children for sex purposes and as these exploited persons remain outside the legal framework, they are further marginalised and not in any way assisted by decriminalisation.
- Decriminalisation does not in fact control prostitution, but expands it. There is an immediate and long-term increase in hidden, illegal and street prostitution completely outside the “legal” framework.
- Violence against women is an integral part of prostitution. Decriminalisation does not address this aspect of the “trade” and in fact increases the violence against those women who are forced into the “profession.”
- Women’s health is not in fact protected.
- At least one study has demonstrated that women in prostitution do not want legalisation and have no desire for their own daughters to embrace the “profession.”
- The Holy Bible is explicit in its opposition to prostitution.
The Evangelical Association of the Caribbean urges that:
- Prostitution not be decriminalised in the Caribbean for the Cricket World Cup or at any time.
- Legislation throughout the region dealing with violence against women be strengthened to include prostitution as violence against women and criminalise the men who seek to abuse and exploit women in this degrading manner.
- All Caribbean governments commit to practical steps that would alleviate the economic pressures on women who are forced to degrade themselves through this violent, unhealthy, and spiritually destructive “trade.”
- Legislation be enacted swiftly to ensure the coming into being of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy will not provide aid and comfort to those who traffic in women and children for sexual or any other purposes.
The Barbados Evangelical Association not long ago produced a document entitled Faith, Hope, Love and Human Sexuality that deals with this and related issues. It is a well researched and documented paper which clearly elucidates the concerns of the Evangelical community. The full document is accessible on-line at http://www.caribevangelical.org/pdfs/fhlhs.pdf (pages 14-19 are relevant to this issue).
The Evangelical community throughout the region is deeply grateful for the principled stand taken by the Governments of Barbados , St. Kitts/Nevis, Guyana and Antigua/Barbuda. We note with appreciation the commitment of the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis to engage a national discussion on these issues. We urge Evangelicals in the twin-island state to fully engage in this national discussion mindful of the sometimes emotive nature of the issues to be discussed.
May God guide our political directorate as they grapple with this controversial issue.
Conservatively, there are at least seven million Evangelical Christians throughout the Caribbean. END