Research-to-Action

Sex law hurts workers

Winnipeg Free Press
Friday, June 6, 2014

...An extensive study published by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) Open concluded the criminalization of clients made the work of prostitutes more dangerous, particularly for those who work the street.

The study of sex workers in Vancouver, where police target customers only, said women reported having to stay out longer because potential clients were nervous. The longer they were on the street, the greater the risks, the women reported. They added their customers tended to drive to different areas of the city if police were present, forcing women to move away, too.

The study said police tactics had a limited effect on street-based sex work and "did not reduce the prevalence of sex work-related violence."

It also "profoundly impacted sex workers' ability to negotiate their working conditions and health and safety," in part because women felt compelled to jump into cars quickly before they had time to assess the customer.