The New Era of Canadian Sex Work

The New Era of Canadian Sex Work

2015, Sexuality  -   48 Comments
Ratings: 6.18/10 from 247 users.

The New Era of Canadian Sex Work is an insightful and educational look at those who consensually engage in sex work, and how the politicians behind Bill C36, also known as the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act (PCEPA), fail to give proper consideration to the willing participants of Canada's sex industry. Pop singer and former stripper Lowell takes viewers behind the scenes of the industry to explore the negative impact this specific piece of legislation could have on women's safety.

While technically still legal to sell sexual services under the new law, PCEPA criminalizes many related aspects of sex work. Introduced in 2013, Bill C36 made it illegal for sex workers to advertise through a third party and criminalized the discussion of transactions between prostitutes and their clients. By doing so it has become harder for women to vet potential clients in order to ensure cleanliness and personal safety. Lowell speaks to politicians, law enforcement officials, and sex industry professionals in both Canada and Nevada to better understand the varying attitudes and stigmas towards one of the world's oldest professions.

Lowell, as well as the workers and clients interviewed throughout the film, take care to distinguish the difference between consensual sex workers and victims of exploitation and rape. It is argued that pre-existing laws, such as assault and rape laws should be enough to criminalize the negative elements that find their way into sex work. Instead PCEPA, with all of its focus on protecting exploited persons, strips away some of the safety nets that non-exploited sex workers once relied on to optimize their well being. To demonstrate this point Lowell visits a legally operated brothel in Nevada, where the Madame in charge notes there has not been a single STD outbreak in 40 years of operation. Furthermore, if a client does anything to make one of the women on staff uncomfortable he is immediately ejected from the premises.

The New Era of Canadian Sex Work is a short but hard-hitting expose that aims to highlight and ultimately reduce the negative stigma surrounding sex workers, humanizing the women and men that choose to participate in the industry.

More great documentaries

48 Comments / User Reviews

  1. whoreallygaf

    Prostitution is largely illegal in the USA and many other nations because too many men, given the option, would much rather subscribe to sex than obtain it through relationships. This is bad for governments because relationships lead to child birth and an expanding tax base, economy, and pool of draftable soldiers.
    This prohibition is often whitewashed as morally-based, but its simply all about ensuring a reliable source of peasants.

  2. Unklg

    The language of discourse is critical to a more nourishing and fruitful understanding of the issues surrounding human sexuality! This Documentary is an engaging point of departure for a Historically challenging Human Dilemma!

  3. Paul H Wilson

    women are parasite whore class of humans on the backs of men, now women in the Uk are paying for sex off men, "GOOD" so they should, men create everything and women take all and sh*t on men at every f*cking level! It's now said women paying for sex off men will come to parasity and might surpass men paying for it off women, "GOOD" it's about time women started to pay for things and giving to men!

    1. wgaf

      Women were once forced onto the backs of men, but now obtain 60% of the college degrees awarded in the USA, a ratio that grows with each passing year now that they are not.

  4. MIzie

    To Lowell,
    If you could pass this loophole to everyone that choose to be in the sex industry (please note, choose not forced/blackmailed) that they only have to change the narrative. Instead sex for money, say they offer companionship in exchange for money. The sex is free, byproduct. This can also decriminalized the johns. Hey, they are not trying to buy sex from the girls. Just buying their time. "Friend for Hire, with a selection of time amount that guarantee will fit your need and budget with a happy ending added". This ad can be posted on any third party publications as no mention of sex offered for money in the ad.
    Remember, its time for money. The sex is free. (The statement you'll give if ask by any law enforcer). Be safe and i hope the girls get a voice so they can be heard, then the law makers will have both side of the story. A real solution then is possible that not only protect but provide safer environment to everyone involved.

  5. Lovilove

    Best documentary EVER! Keep on showing the truth!

  6. Rose

    Listening to the narrator's voice is like listening to nails on a chalkboard. It makes this impossible to watch... It's too bad, because it could have made for a great documentary if it was done more professionally. Personally, I'm in favor of legalizing prostitution and regulating it, and I think it's a disgrace to see productions like this documentary made, that hinder any progress on the issue by appearing condescending and poorly executed.

  7. jean clement,this world has not yet seen anything;sex workers,gangsters,killers, and all you can think of,all are asking for their rights.well,it is not strange in my eyes because WILLIAM MARRION BRANHAM had told us that it will be so.this our epoque is called LAODICEA...

  8. Mama dada

    If Canada considers it as a work , the responsibility of the government to plan and provide a suitable education and training for its workers or potential workers , so , does anyone think universities and colleges will open programs for that ?

  9. Kym

    This might be the worst doc i've ever seen-- so bad that I even had to comment.

  10. klsjdf

    dont understand the low rating. Great documentary

  11. Steve

    I think people are confusing morality with law here. If we wish to live in a free society then people should be allowed to trade their bodies for money under their own terms. Who cares if it offends you? I personally would never date someone in the sex trade like what that stripper woman was crying about in the end of the movie but I am not trying to stop any willing adult from being a stripper. I don't like strip clubs and I don't pay for sex but I'm ok with anyone who wants to doing it. Just because you don't like something doesn't mean it shouldn't be legal.

    Also there is a HUGE difference between prostitution and sex slavery and I think some good points are made about this in the documentary. The documentary host seemed on one hand worldly but on the other hand very naive and impressionable. It is easy for us to sit back and judge and marginalize people in the sex trade which is what Canada has done.

  12. BJL

    Id like to speak with these women 10 years from now to learn how far prostitution has taken them. In the US or anywhere in the world, providing sex for money is something most people do when in crisis, not as a "career". I'd much rather hear about women who acknowledge the damage prostitution has caused and how they recover.

  13. Waverly

    they make it sound as if people who become sex workers are these totally liberal, progressive, sexually empowered "cool" girls and that there is nothing wrong with the concept of prostitution itself. I agree there shouldn't be a stigma against sex workers but it shouldn't be an ideal or anything to strive for within a society. A society that is so well adept and at a point of actualization where selling your body for money doesn't exist is what we should be aiming for. There are a LOT more victims then people who are genuinely happy. Most sex workers claim their happy when in reality they are stuck doing this profession so they settle for what they have and try to make the best out of it. I think it is totally right to try to ban prostitution altogether. Though very unlikely that will happen, if legalized I don't think it would help individuals reach self-actualization when they can talk the easy way out and sell their body for money. Since unemployment and debt are high, I feel like more and more girls will have to go down that route due to monetary issues and NOT because they want too. It would reinforce guys to objectify women more than they already do and let them be pigs with no consequences... the women who is the narrator is clearly biased and twisted.

    1. idiothuman

      "..the narrator is clearly biased and twisted" said the pot to the kettle

  14. JDM

    Nothing better that curling up with a lovely prostitute and watching a movie about prostitution. I'm with one now! Love the movie!

  15. Musafir

    The pimps and drug dealers are predators that circle like sharks and
    what leads these people to think it's empowering? Of course they will
    never admit it.

    1. cluelesshuman

      The women empower themselves. The law empowers pimps and sharks

  16. Beau Ste croix

    The problem with the reporter covering this story and the "sex workers" she interviewed is that they have no idea how stupid they are. Crazy people don't realize they're crazy. "I was a sex worker till I could get enough money together to make an album."? Yikes!!!!!

    1. Jessica Sellegren

      Why is it crazy to be empowered by sex work? You obviously don't understand, the point of this film was to show another perspective. I would agree with the ladies interviewed. Brothels are safe, when correctly regulated. Street hustling gets people killed. Let's be adults, and let people have their various vices, as long as it is consensual and hygienic. Sex workers have value to society, and are needed for it to function properly. Those with the most genius, least social skills, or horrible deformities/disabilities do not deserve to die virgins, they should be able to go to a safe brothel too.

    2. BJS

      Your whole comment is an oxymoron. Empowered by sex work? Let's be adults? Again yikes! If that's what you think adults are about you have some growing up to do. Let's be adults and create a world where abuse, rape, drugs and deviant fantasies can be carried out free from scrutiny. Oh my.

    3. JFC

      The probleme here is that the whole world do not turn around your own little navel.

      I mean, if your are not personally comfortable with the sex work issue, if yourself would never feel empowered with sex work, many other people with different backstory and view can feel empowered by sex work. the issue is not about you and your little personal feeling, but about others that have a different view and backstory than you and accept them as they are.

      Personally i can't stand moralistic people, but you have the right to exist.

      « Let's be adults and create a world where abuse, rape, drugs and deviant fantasies can be carried out free from scrutiny. Oh my.»

      You are a m*ron with a lot of prejudice and you cannot accept that a part of the human sexuality can be fun or dark.

    4. BJS

      Hahaha in a world were most sex workers are only there because it's their only means of sustaining themselves and most of the others are forced into it only in the seediest most perverse sub-cultures do we find people who see a fun side to the dark world of sex trade.

    5. JFC

      Yea their is many people who take their place and have fun (in the sex industry) want it or not.

      This is not all people who have the same relationship with sex and their bodies.

    6. BJS

      If there are a thousand of those people having fun and only one is in that live because they are abused or forced then non should be doing it. I can't imagine any women would be in the sex trade if there wasn't so much money to be made or something hasn't happened in their life which lead them there. It's those things that should worry people. Why does selling your body feel empowering? What happened to bring a child to that conclusion may not be a good thing that happened to them. It may be an abusive home, it maybe an abusive boyfriend. It maybe drugs. When a girl who does it to make and album is rubbing shoulders with some casualty of a perverted abusive life I look at that girl as being a numb skull. Yeah sexuality is good, it's what makes babies and it's fun but only when it's safe. Prostituion isn't safe. By its own nature it can't be. STDs don't stop at condoms. Not all of them. The pimps and drug dealers are predators that circle like sharks and what leads these people to think it's empowering? Of course they will never admit it. It's hard for someone to admit they have made mistakes but somewhere their sense of what is good for them has become blurred. What makes me so righteous? Well I can see how the environment of protitution is damaging and dangerous. I can see the creepy johns that flock to that world. And I am enraged at any man who would lie to a girl and say here's 40 bucks for your dignity it's ok that your only worth some money.

    7. JFC

      «I can't imagine any women would be in the sex trade if there wasn't so much money to be made or something hasn't happened in their life which lead them there.»

      i know that for a «moral» person it is difficult to imagine, but many women are ok, and some even like to work in the sex industry such as prostitution, brothel, porn industry and strip club. I don't talk about «sex trade» but sex industry. You have to pass over your little feeling and understand that some people may like stuff that disgust you.

    8. BJS

      It's not a matter of being disgusted it's a matter of propagating a culture that breeds sinister characters who use and abuse women. It's feeding those degenerates and adding to that world that bothers me. Sexual freedom isn't what's at question here. People doing some kinky s*it is passé. The world of prostituion though is a very different animal all together. This little feeling you talk of isn't little at all. It's huge. I have an incredible amount of feelings for these women who have sunk to the level of having to sell themselves. We all should. It's sad that you leave things at calling me a moralist like its a bad thing. Or speak of little feelings. You pay no attention to the real problem here. What about the young women who are living in this world of drugs and abuse? What about the dirt bag johns and pimps. What about the disease and drugs? These are things that are all apart of it. Your quick to chalk this up to moralist rhetoric and say, ah get over your little feelings. Give your head a shake.

    9. JFC

      «t's not a matter of being disgusted it's a matter of propagating a culture that breeds sinister characters who use and abuse women.»

      If their is proven abuse, we should do something, but if their is no abuse and the women or men are conscious and are not «exploited or abused» we should let them free to do what they want.

      What you see as an exploitation or abuse, is maybe not the same in the eye of others people inside the industry.

      « Sexual freedom isn't what's at question here.»

      The question is the freedom of individual to make what they want with their bodies if they are conscious and not mentally ill.

      « I have an incredible amount of feelings for these women who have sunk to the level of having to sell themselves.»

      BJS, this is not your business, how you feel is not important, this is how THEY feel that is important. If they feel ok with what they do, we should let them do what they want, even if it hurt your huge feeling :)

    10. BJS

      Hahaha wow good talk. Agree to disagree?

    11. BJS

      Next on the list. Read about sexual assault in Canadian military

    12. BJS

      The problem here is that we aren't just talking about something like I eat to much ice cream and is making me look fat. It's more akin to someone who drinks to the point of access and has become an alcoholic. Something has led them to that junction. It is unhealthy to be in that world because it is rife with health problems and it is a world synonymous with suicide, depression, abuse and early death. It's not healthy emotionally or physically.

    13. JFC

      As long as people doing it and dont ask any help and seem ok with this behavior, this is not you buisiness.

      «It is unhealthy to be in that world » this is your view, but the people inside have another view and see thing differently.

    14. BJS

      I think one of the strangest things I've been called to date is a moralist when there is a negative conentaion placed on it. Most of my life when faced with a decision I've asked myself what would this person say? How would they react? One of my greatest heroes was abe Lincoln. What would he say to being called a moralist? Probably thank you. If we didnt have morals to guide us we would be living like animals. It was a sense of right and wrong that drove the south out of the darkness of slavery.

    15. JFC

      Yeap, but you can have a sens of moral, and another one can have another sens of moral, not all people want to make the same thing and have the same moral.

      I mean some behavior can repulse you and disgust you, such as the idea of some people that may have fun and feel good in the sex industry. I can understand that you not like it and the way these people think and behave may shock you, this is your right to be shocked and not like it.

      But you don't have the right to chose at their place, think at their place and force them to get out of an industry that they like, or the feel ok to do it, because you have a different moral and because you are shocked.

      Sorry english, is not my first language, do you understand what i mean? For me freedom to do what you wan, even if it not morally ok for some, is the most important.

      BUT, if they are forced, and are victim of a coercive systeme such as pimp etc.. this is our duty to help them to get out of their dirty hands.

  17. Kamar Raimo

    This makes me wonder: How does Canadian legislation view pornography after this recent change? AFAIK in the U.S. there have been court decisions that performers do not count as prostitutes because they are not paid for their sex act by the consumers directly. Any idea how that works in Canada now?

  18. Diane

    I've experienced the Canadian 'aura' and will confirm that, in my opinion, they tend to be provincial and condescending. This law reflects both characteristics.

  19. rad rick

    another feminist propaganda film

    1. oQ

      Something about the title attracted you to it, or did you not watch it?
      How do you spell hypocright?

    2. rad rick

      you assume alot like a true fiminist

    3. oQ

      1. you didn't watch it and you made a comment on the subject not on the doc
      2. you watched it because the title interested you.
      which one should i assume?
      how do you spell Hypercrite?
      I am not a feminist, i am a humanist.

    4. Beau Ste croix

      You don't make sense

    5. Beau Ste croix


    6. JFC

      It 's actualy a good doc and not feminist propaganda as usual int this kinda film.

  20. JohnHechtman

    The simple reality is that no law will ever eliminate sex work/prostitution. In all the long history of humanity, it never has and it never will. As long as people want to buy, other people will want to sell - for a myriad of reasons, some good, some bad. Given that to be true, does it not require us to focus on protecting the workers themselves (and their customers) from exploitation and violence?

    1. Jessica Sellegren

      Why is nobody focusing on the men who are chronically rejected for sex by women. How are disabled and deformed men supposed to have a sexual experience with a woman they find visually appealing? Don't the amputees and persons with mental impairments deserve to be able to pay for a pleasant, natural joy of life? It seems fascist to criminalize these people.

  21. Blaice

    The lead for this documentary made it unbearable for me to watch. The bias was too overwhelming. I honestly have nothing against self-proclaimed sex workers, but she acts as if she is the end all statistician in sex-trafficking, having chosen sex-work for herself.

    1. Ann

      I can't bear her lack of diction and monotone.

    2. Jessica Sellegren

      She sounds more authentic that way. Did you expect the ladies of Downton Abby would be in this?