Canada recently passed Bill C-36, the cuddly-sounding “Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act.” While ostensibly crafted to keep sex workers safe, the bill has been blasted by sex worker advocates because, they argue, it was created without sufficient input from those who happily work in the industry, and is yet another attempt to further criminalize the profession.
In other words, a person must be at least 16 years old to be able to legally agree to sexual activity.
A 14 or 15 year old can consent to sexual activity as long as the partner is less than five years older and there is no relationship of trust, authority or dependency or any other exploitation of the young person.
You can read excerpts below; click through to read a full interview with each sex worker.
Amber Rose, 24, Montreal What surprised me most about sex work: How normal everything was.
This means that if the partner is 5 years or older than the 14 or 15 year old, any sexual activity is a criminal offence.
There is also a "close in age" exception for 12 and 13 year olds.
Current laws on prostitution in Canada, introduced in 2014, make it illegal to purchase sexual services but legal to sell them.
According to the Canadian Department of Justice, the new legal framework "reflects a significant paradigm shift away from the treatment of prostitution as 'nuisance', as found by the Supreme Court of Canada in Bedford, toward treatment of prostitution as a form of sexual exploitation that disproportionately and negatively impacts on women and girls".
(You can watch it on ) “I initially wanted to make the doc to assess the stigmatization of being somebody that’s worked in sex work; generally people think that they’re stupid or have come from abusive backgrounds, and that’s not necessarily always the case,” she says.