Monthly Archives: August 2013

Author: Sarah Hunt, Kwakwaka’wakw First Nation, 2010

Citation (MLA): Hunt, S. “Colonial Roots, Contemporary Risk Factors: A Cautionary Exploration of the Domestic Trafficking of Aboriginal Girls and Women in British Columbia, Canada.” Alliance News. July, 2010. 15 August 2013. Web.

Introductory Paragraph:

In recent years, scholars have taken up the issue of domestic trafficking of Aboriginal girls and women in Canada, asserting that this is an issue of pressing concern in our communities. Indeed, one study reported that Aboriginal women and children make up the majority of people trafficked within Canada. 6 With a lack of available data to clarify the extent and nature of human trafficking in Aboriginal communities, the authors have largely conflated domestic trafficking with youth sexual exploitation, intergenerational violence, and disappearance or abduction, resulting in a muddling of trafficking with other forms of violence and abuse. In order to better inform prevention and education efforts in Aboriginal communities, a more nuanced exploration of the trafficking of Aboriginal girls and women in Canada is needed. Adult sex work, often conflated with sexual exploitation in literature on domestic trafficking of Indigenous women, must also be approached within a rights-based framework rather than throwing it into the mix of exploitation. In this paper, I will draw on my 10years of experience as a community-based researcher, program coordinator and educator on issues of youth sexual exploitation, intergenerational violence and related issues stemming from the colonisation of Indigenous communities in British Columbia (BC), Canada. I will also draw on available research to argue that while Indigenous girls and women in Canada are at heightened risk of human trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation, little evidence is available to support the claim that trafficking is a growing issue in our communities. Rather, as others have argued, human trafficking is one of many forms of sexualised violence perpetrated against Aboriginal women, and efforts to address trafficking must simultaneously distinguish between trafficking, youth sexual exploitation, adult sex work, and a range of violent offences while seeing the colonial roots which link various forms of abuse and marginalisation.

Read the full article here:

Author: John Lowman, 2011

Citation (APA): Lowman, J. (2011). Deadly Inertia: A History of Constitutional Challenges to Canada’s Criminal Code Sections on Prostitution. Beijing Law Review, 2(2), 33-54.


This paper examines rhetoric surrounding prostitution law reform in Canada from 1970 to the present. During the 1950s and 1960s, there was very little media or political attention paid to prostitution. It was not until the mid 1970s that perceived problems with prostitution law began to surface, driven by concerns that the criminal code statute prohibiting street prostitution was not enforceable. In 1983 the Liberal government appointed the Special Committee on Pornography and Prostitution to consider options for law and policy reform. However, the Conservative government that received the report in 1985 rejected the sweeping law changes the Special Committee recommended, opting instead to rewrite the street prostitution offence. Since then the murder of somewhere between 200 and 300 street prostitutes has prompted renewed calls for law reform. The debate on law reform culminated in 2006 with a parliamentary review that saw all four federal political parties agreeing that Canada’s prostitution laws are “unacceptable,” but unable to agree about how to change them. The majority report held that consenting adult prostitution should be legal, while the minority report held that it should be prohibited. In 2007 the Standing Committee on the Status of Women recommended that Canada adopt the Nordic model of demand-side prohibition. As the deadlock continues, women in the street sex trade continue to be murdered. Faced with this deadly inertia, two groups of sex workers have challenged several Criminal Code sections relating to prostitution, arguing that they violate several of their Constitutional rights, including their right to “life, liberty and security of the person”. The paper concludes with an update on the progress of the Charter challenges now before the courts.

Read the full paper here:

Martin Mbonye et al (2013): ‘It is like a tomato stall where someone can pick what he likes’: structure and practices of female sex work in Kampala, Uganda, BMC Public Health 2013, 13:741 doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-741.

Full paper available here


Effective interventions among female sex workers require a thorough knowledge of the
context of local sex industries. We explore the organisation of female sex work in a low
socio-economic setting in Kampala, Uganda.

We conducted a qualitative study with 101 participants selected from an epidemiological
cohort of 1027 women at high risk of HIV in Kampala. Repeat in-depth life history and work
practice interviews were conducted from March 2010 to June 2011. Context specific factors f female sex workers’ day-to-day lives were captured. Reported themes were identified and
categorised inductively.

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Bruckert, Chris / Hannem, Stacey (2013): Rethinking the Prostitution Debates:  Transcending Structural Stigma in Systemic  Responses to Sex Work, in: Canadian Journal of Law and Society / Revue Canadienne Droit et Société / Volume 28 / Issue 01 / April 2013, pp 43 ­ 63


As legal authorities consider the constitutionality of the laws surrounding prostitution in Canada, we have the opportunity to rethink some of the fundamental assumptions that have been made about sex work and the socio-legal responses to it. In this article we draw on the concept of structural stigma to analyze the stigmatic assumptions inherent in the Canadian laws and briefly describe their effect—the civic exclusion of sex workers. We then consider the ways in which these same assumptions of risk and immorality are reproduced in end-demand (partial criminalization), legalized (regulatory) models, and decriminalization. While the decriminalization of sex work is the response that relies on the least stigmatic assumptions, even the celebrated New Zealand model is not absent of moralization and “othering” discourse. Further reflection is required to conceptualize a policy approach that transcends stigmatic assumptions so as to respect the human and civil rights of sex workers.


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Dewey, Susan, Zhen, Tiantian (2013): Ethical Research with Sex Workers. Anthropological Approaches. (Book)

From the Foreword:

Dewey and Zheng’s Ethical Research with Sex Workers: Anthropological  Approaches, provides a thoughtful and carefully researched look into the multifaceted world of sex workers. By drawing from cross-cultural data, the authors  describe individuals ranging from destitute street-based and crack cocaine  addicted prostitutes to ‘high-end’ escorts who revel in their upscale way of  life. Their extensive analysis avoids the pitfalls of over-simplifying and/or  over-generalizing the lives of those employed in the sex industry.
Dewey and Zheng are steadfast in their dedication to understanding the lives and decision-making processes of sex workers. Their desire for truthfulness is accompanied by the empathy and respect they have for each of their informants. They caution fellow researchers against constructing simplistic dichotomized characterizations of sex workers as pure victims or as pure agents. Instead, the
authors consider sex workers as multi-layered and multi-positioned individuals who have the right to tell their stories. By doing so, they heed the feminist call to give voice to individuals from all sectors of society.
Dewey and Zheng put forth useful methodologies/protocols for collecting data and for maintaining the privacy of informants. The authors call for the use of a ‘Community-Based Participatory Action Research’ Model in which sex workers take part in the design and implementation of the investigation, analysis of data, along with the dissemination of findings. Moreover, they provide a number of specific cases where such methodologies/protocols have proven successful.
Dewey and Zheng also document the ongoing debate between advocates of sex worker’s rights advocates versus those calling for abolition. In some cases, these heated disagreements have resulted in attacks being made on sex researchers’ academic freedom. Sadly, this acrimony has fueled what can be described as anthropology’s ‘culture of accusation’ first documented by Gregor and Gross (2004) and later confirmed by Chacon and Mendoza (2012a, b).
Indeed, the authors describe how the decision to accurately and respectfully report what sex workers tell researchers can come at great personal cost. Sex work researchers have been subjected to unfair accusations from government officials, colleagues, and activists while some family members and friends have shunned them.


This article analyzes recent developments in U.S. anti-sex trafficking rhetoric and practices. In particular, it traces how pre-9/11 abolitionist legal frameworks have been redeployed in the context of regime change from the Clinton to Bush administrations. In the current political context, combating the traffic in women has become a common denominator political issue, uniting people across the political and religious spectrum against a seemingly indisputable act of oppression and exploitation. However, this essay argues that feminists should be the first to interrogate and critique the premises underlying many claims about global sex trafficking, as well as recent U.S.-based efforts to rescue prostitutes. It places the current raid-and-rehabilitation method of curbing sex trafficking within the broader context of Bush administration and conservative religious approaches to dealing with gender and sexuality on the international scene.

Read full article here.

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Janie Chuang, “Beyond a snapshot: Preventing human trafficking in the global economy”. Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies, Volume 13, Issue 1, Winter 2006, pp. 137-163 | 10.1353/gls.2006.0002.

Full text available.

Abstract: Current legal responses to the problem of human trafficking often reflect a deep reluctance to address the socioeconomic root causes of the problem. Because they approach trafficking as an act (or series of acts) of violence, most responses focus predominantly on prosecuting traffickers, and to a lesser extent, protecting trafficked persons. While such approaches might account for the consequences of trafficking, they tend to overlook the broader socioeconomic reality that drives trafficking in human beings. Against this backdrop, this article seeks to reframe trafficking as a migratory response to current globalizing socioeconomic trends. It argues that, to be effective, counter-trafficking strategies must target the underlying conditions that impel people to accept dangerous labor migration assignments. The article recommends that existing counter-trafficking strategies be assessed with a view to assessing their potential for long-term effectiveness. It also advocates strategic use of the nondiscrimination principle to promote basic economic, social, and cultural rights, the deprivation of which has sustained the trafficking phenomenon.