Study Finds Canadian Sex Workers Happy, Content With Their Jobs

By @ibtimesau on
A suspected sex worker puts on clothes at a hotel room during a police raid, as part of plans to crackdown on prostitution, in Dongguan, Guangdong province, February 9, 2014. Chinese authorities have carried out a rare crackdown on the sex trade in the &q
A suspected sex worker puts on clothes at a hotel room during a police raid, as part of plans to crackdown on prostitution, in Dongguan, Guangdong province, February 9, 2014. Chinese authorities have carried out a rare crackdown on the sex trade in the "sin city" of Dongguan following a candid report by the state broadcaster on the underground industry. Picture taken February 9, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer REUTERS/Stringer

In a desperate attempt to bump off the proposed Bill C-36, which seeks to illegalize buying sex in Canada, a new study has revealed that most sex workers in the country are actually comfortable, happy and content in their kind of job.

Funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the study was based on hundreds of interviews in six Canadian communities. It found that a whopping 70 percent of sex workers are not just satisfied with their jobs, it also discovered that 68 percent feel they have good job security.

Eighty-two percent of the respondents also feel they are appropriately paid.

The proposed new prostitution law Bill C-36 seeks to criminalize the selling and purchase of sex. Its ultimate goal is to abolish the particular industry from Canada. The bill's proponents have argued that most people who sell sex are victims, while those who purchase sex are perverts and fiends. It is expected to become law this winter, before the government's December deadline.

But the study's findings strongly rejected this notion, according to lead researcher Cecilia Benoit.

"They don't see themselves as victims in the sense that they've been portrayed in the current bill. They're actually a lot like you and I. They just haven't had quite so many advantages in some cases."

In fact, 81 percent of sex workers and 83 percent of clients surveyed said it is the sex workers who provide the terms of their transactions.

Chris Atchison, a sociologist from the University of Victoria, said that when clients come to a sex worker looking for this and that, the usual reply the other party will say is that "I'm either willing or unwilling to provide that."

And then, during the transaction talks, "the longer the exchange goes on the less likely that we're going to see conflict and the more likely we're going to see increased sexual safety between the partners," Atchison added.

There were a total of 218 sex workers in six communities interviewed for the study, including those at St. John's, N.L., Montreal, Waterloo, Ont., Fort McMurray, Alta., Calgary and Victoria.

Atchison believed that instead of C-36 helping and ensuring the safety of sex workers, as what the government has been wont to say, it would instead make sex workers "easier targets."

"We see exacerbation of conflict and unsafe sex practices when we force people to engage in hostile, criminalized climates," he said.

Clients, or "johns," will then have the legal authority not to disclose their identities once it becomes illegal to buy sex. "People who are raping and murdering sex workers, they're not clients," Atchison said. "Nobody murders a sex worker and then puts $500 down on her corpse."

The study found that the vast majority of clients are men, while women made up the majority of providers. About 15 to 23 percent are men or transsexuals.