Sex Work Is a Human Right, But Here’s What Happens When It’s Illegal

The Canadian Alliance for Sex Work Law Reform is advocating for the rights of sex workers.

LGBTQ+ News Headline News Sean Kivi

This article was published on July 6th, 2022


This cis-gendered woman’s story starts on a corner in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. She was doing nothing other than trying to earn an honest day’s work when, out of nowhere, a white van encroached on her workplace. Out of the van appear three men, police officers. Immediately she is apprehended and placed swiftly into the back of the van. The three men glanced around, noticing the area was empty. Not a soul in sight.

Once inside the van, they began groping her, ripping her clothes off. Then, one by one, they took turns. Using her like a blow-up doll, “me first,” said the first police officer. “Next me,” said the second, then the third. As the story unfolds, you can get a very clear mental image of a helpless woman being abused by three men, the very men that her taxes pay to protect her. They were forcing her to do something she did not want to do. 

Did anyone reply to her cries for help? Silence and a bash on the head are the only response to them. 

You’ve just read a testimony of a woman who was gang-raped by police one night in Santo Domingo. Unfortunately, this is a reality that many women live through daily.

Some people blame the victim, spewing absurdities like, “if she would have found a respectable job” or “that’s what you get for being a whore,” but the focus is all wrong. Ask yourself truthfully, “does anyone deserve this type of treatment?”

Sex workers worldwide are patronized daily for trying to navigate the best way they know how in the world that is all too unaccepting of sex work. 

The problem here is not the sex work but rather the criminalization of an act that should be legal. In Western society, we often tout the idea of freedom. We see it in the media and online. Currently, there is a wave of Eastern vs. Western ideology. We supposedly have more rights, freedoms, and less crime. Yet, we still make it illegal for people to do as they wish with their bodies. 

Just recently, Canada’s parliament failed to break away from criminalizing sex work, paving the way for future stories such as the one mentioned above. 

Has the West done anything to improve the welfare of these undervalued and vulnerable workers? When will our society break away from imprisoning those who are just trying to live an honest life? When will we start to recognize that decriminalizing sex work will enable many people to work and improve their working conditions around the world?

What does the criminalization of sex workers do? There are harmful circumstances, and Yale has published an extensive report outlining the harsh reality of criminalizing sex work. Here are just a few of the findings.

  • Increased Socioeconomic hardship
  • Increased violence and stigma
  • Infringement on rights of people who sell sex

On top of these, there are many unseen issues surrounding the criminalization of sex work. It’s not uncommon for gay men to provide escort services to help pay loans or for tuition. 

When sex work is criminalized, they are at increased risk of rape and assault. It forces them to work in an unclean environment, rely on the use of illicit drugs, and not get tested or treatment for STI’s and HIV.  

The Canadian Alliance for Sex work Law Reform is a group of 25 sex worker rights groups. They’re working together to create safer and healthier communities. At HomoCulture, we share the same values as this group. We want everyone to be safe because we feel that governments should not mandate the rights of sex workers. We support individual liberties. We are seeing warfare in Ukraine, which is largely caused by ideology

However, we do know that not everyone will agree with us on this matter. We would love to hear your thoughts and ideas. How do you feel about sex workers? Do you think Canada and other jurisdictions around the world should legalize it? Are you of the opinion that it’s a fundamental human right to do as we wish with our bodies? Let us know them in the comments section.

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