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.