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 A “working paper” prepared as background to Building on the Evidence: An International Symposium on the Sex Industry in Canada

This paper is a result of a research programme in Canada’s sex industry: workers and their intimate partners, managers and clients.

On December 20, 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada rendered a landmark decision that substantially reshaped Canada’s legal framework regarding adult sex work. The case of Bedford v. Canada resulted in the striking down of three provisions of the Criminal Code: the communication, bawdy-house and living on the avails laws. The Court found that these three provisions violate section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (the “Charter”) given their negative impact on sex workers’ security of the person.

Download this resource: PDF icon My_Work_Should_Not_Cost_Me_My_Life.pdf

This concise, Canadian resource looks at why we need prostitution law reform, what the decriminalisation of sex work is, how decriminalisation happens, decriminalisation through the court system, and how to support sex workers in law reform. It notes, "decriminalisation alone cannot overcome all of the other injustices that many of us face, but it is a necessary step to protecting and respecting sex workers' rights".

Download this resource: PDF icon StellaInfoSheetTheBasic.pdf

This resource commences by quoting Ronald Weitzer, who notes "the management of prostitution is one of the most invisible aspects of the trade". It goes on to discuss common prohibitionist discourse around sex work, that situates all possible study on the topic on a continuum between deviance and violence, before highlighting that this limited binary is "diametrically opposed to much of the scholarly literature, and, more importantly, to what sex workers are asserting - namely, that sex work is work".

Download this resource: PDF icon ManagementResearch (4).pdf

This concise guide to the difference between sex work and trafficking - and what a response to trafficking grounded in sex worker rights looks like - discusses the key differences between sex work and trafficking; the differences that make the habitual conflation of the two not only inaccurate but also a hinderance to tackling actual exploitation, and a threat to the human rights of sex workers.

Download this resource: PDF icon KDTD_Human_Trafficking_And_Sex_Work.pdf

Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center - Shadow CEDAW report submitted to the 39th Session of CEDAW in 2007.

You can download this 13 page PDF report above.

This resource is in English.

Download this resource: PDF icon SWP shadow CEDAW 2007.pdf

This briefing from the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network considers the impact of the "Swedish" or "Nordic" model on sex workers.  Examining its harmful effects, this paper argues that this approach would not withstand constitutional scrutiny in Canada.

The briefing also makes recommendations to the Canadian Parliament as follows:

  • Parliament should repeal the section of the Criminal Code that makes it an offence to communicate in a public place for the purposes of prostitution
  • Parliament should repeal the bawdy-house sections of the Criminal Code
  • Parliament should repeal the subsections of the procuring sections of the Criminal Code that relate to bawdy-houses
  • Parliament should repeal the section of the Criminal Code that makes it an offence to live on the avails of prostitution
  • Parliament should repeal the reverse-onus subsection of the Criminal Code as it applies to living on the avails of prostitution

For full details you can download this useful 6 page PDF document above.  This resource is in English.

Download this resource: PDF icon NordicBrief-ENG.pdf

PROS Network (Providers and Resources Offering Services to sex workers) participated in two studies in New York around the impact of policies that use of condoms as ‘evidence of prostitution’. This report written by the PROS Network and Leigh Tomppert of the Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center, which was funded by Open Society Foundation and the Elton John Foundation, compares the findings of the two studies.

Download this resource: PDF icon 20120417-public-health-crisis[1].pdf