Sex work: Who are we talking about when we talk about Prostitution

sex work

Editor: Philip Ragner | Tactical Investor

Sex Work

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Sex work: Who are we talking about

Prostitution is now illegal in Canada. A criminal offence occurs every time sexual services are exchanged for compensation.

Canada’s new prostitution laws — which came into force in 2014 — are consistent with laws now in place in Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Northern Ireland, France and the Republic of Ireland. This approach — often referred to as the Nordic model — criminalizes the purchase of sexual services in an effort to end the practice of prostitution itself.

In Canada, four new criminal offences target prostitution and the development of economic interests in prostitution. Those who exchange their own sexual services for compensation cannot be prosecuted for their participation in the commission of the new offences.

Is prostitution itself harmful and exploitative? Or is sex work a legitimate form of labour that people should be permitted to safely engage in as a matter of personal choice?

One way of reconciling this divided debate is to identify who we are talking about when we talk about prostitution and sex work.

Prostitution is an activity. Those who support the Nordic model see that activity as harmful and seek to end its practice. Sex work is now frequently used to describe prostitution when engaged in by a subset of participants — adults, who consent, and who have not been coerced or trafficked. Advocates argue that sex work is a matter of individual choice and it can be made safer by decriminalizing all aspects of adult prostitution.

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