Blog

In prostitution, ‘race, class, and sex intersect in the worst of ways to subjugate Native women’

Last month CTV News aired a short documentary as part of their “First Story” series, called “Stepping from the Shadows,” which looks at indigenous women and prostitution, the Bedford decision, and how the future of Canada’s prostitution laws could impact indigenous women and girls in Canada. The documentary features women such as Jackie Lynne, Cherry ...
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EU Parliament passes resolution in favour of the Nordic model

EU Parliament passed a resolution today in favour of the Nordic model, which criminalizes the purchase of sex, while decriminalizing prostituted people. The resolution passed by 343 votes to 139, with 105 abstentions. This is thanks, in large part, to the work of Mary Honeyball, London MEP and Labour spokeswoman for women, who drafted the ...
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Who do you listen to? On ‘listening to sex workers’

There’s one guaranteed pro-sex-work response whenever you write something unenthusiastic about prostitution, and that response is: listen to sex workers. It was the dominant theme of critical replies to my review of Melissa Gira Grant’s Playing the Whore: listen to sex workers, then you’ll see how wrong you are. In some ways it’s a peculiar logic ...
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Podcasts

PODCAST: Amnesty International supports legalizing prostitution & Canada strikes down their current laws. What’s next?

Last month a proposal from Amnesty International advocating for the legalization of prostitution was leaked. Feminists and women’s rights organizations around the world were appalled — why was an organization that had done so much work for human rights legitimizing a violent and exploitative industry such as prostitution? Why were they advocating for men’s “right ...
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Toying with politics: A review of Melissa Gira Grant’s ‘Playing the Whore’

Playing the Whore: The Work of Sex Work, Melissa Gira Grant (Verso, 2014; $17.95CAN) The cover of this manifesto on sex work shows three cogs in three fleshy tones, a penetrable central socket in each and high-heeled legs sprouting from them as they appear to grind against each other in a mechanically impossible formation, with ...
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Press release: Indigenous Women Against the Sex Industry Continue to Fight for the Abolition of Prostitution

As Indigenous women and girls who have experienced centuries of colonial male violence, the decision by The Supreme Court of Canada to strike down the existing prostitution laws comes as no surprise. Our histories, our laws and traditions, and our worldviews have been purposefully omitted from the Supreme Court decision. Once again, not only our ...
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Elizabeth Pickett reflects on the future implications of Bedford v. Canada before the decision

Before the Bedford case comes down to us from on high on Friday, I have a few reflections. I’ve said since the case came before the courts that I think the timing of the constitutional challenge just couldn’t be worse — not just for all those women (and young men) in the sex exploitation industry ...
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If prostitution isn’t about lonely, undersexed men, what is it about? (Or, Justin Bieber doesn’t need to pay for sex)

Justin Bieber was photographed leaving a Brazilian brothel last weekend. He was covered in bedsheets, which leads us to believe that buying sex still isn’t seen as a completely acceptable pass time (though our friends on team “sex work is work” are doing their very best to change that). It’s not as though the Biebs ...
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Ghosts of prostitution debates past

Halloween is my Christmas. Even if I wasn’t born on November 1st and named after a witch, the Samhain season would still be holiday numero uno for me due to the candy, costumes, and supernatural spookies celebrated in the absence of religious, nationalist or familial obligations. Since autumn reaps harvests of nostalgia, I thought it ...
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Blog

Arguing Against the Industry of Prostitution – Beyond the Abolitionist Versus Sex-Worker Binary

Introduction Prostitution has long been a contentious issue in the Women’s Liberation Movement, splitting feminist individuals and groups. This is largely because the debate is often reduced to an either/or argument between what is called ‘harm minimisation’ in a legal ‘sex industry’ – the legalisation argument – and on the other side, arguments for the ...
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Podcasts

PODCAST: Reflections on Bedford v. Canada: An interview with Janine Benedet

On June 13th, Bedford v. Canada was heard before the Supreme Court of Canada. The case is a legal challenge to Canada’s prostitution laws. Currently, in Canada, it isn’t technically illegal to buy sex, but many of the laws surrounding prostitution criminalize it: communicating for the purposes of prostitution, operating a bawdy house (brothel), or ...
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Podcasts

PODCAST: An interview with the directors of ‘Buying Sex’

Filmmakers, Teresa MacInnes and Kent Nason set out to explore the various models of prostitution law across the world and the impacts on women in the industry. They spoke with johns, sex workers, law enforcement officers, academics, experts, and government officials. Much of the film is focused on the Bedford v. Canada case, scheduled for ...
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