The Sex Trade in Canada involves a range of activities including but not limited to escort services, street-level sex work, pornography, internet work, and phone sex operators. While the sale of your own sexual services in some circumstances is not illegal in Canada, purchasing sexual services, communicating in any place for that purpose, and other related activities are criminal offences under the Criminal Code of Canada. For more information, visit the Government of Canada’s website.
For some people, working in the sex trade is an informed and conscious act or choice. For others who have experienced a background of poverty, addiction, and abuse, it may feel like their only option, rather than a choice. Sex workers often experience victimization, discrimination, and are stigmatized within Canadian society. Sex workers can be targets of violence, and this often results in fear for their personal safety.
The sex trade can involve the exploitation of vulnerable people for sexual purposes. The exploiters have been known to target vulnerable communities, and this in turn adversely affects the social health of the community. The EPS is conscious of the impact that sexual exploitation has on all people and neighborhoods across the city.
Leaving A Life of Exploitation
Those who wish to escape exploitation face many barriers, even if there is no coercion. These can include inadequate housing, poverty, waiting lists for treatment and a lack of social supports. Despite these barriers, many individuals have been able to create a new life for themselves with appropriate interventions such as emergency relief, addictions treatment, transitional housing, employment programs, trauma counseling, life skills coaching, support groups and education.
The Edmonton Police Service works collaboratively with community partners that offer support to people leaving the cycle of sexual exploitation:
- Métis Child and Family Services Society
10437-123 St Edmonton, AB
- CEASE, Center to End all Sexual Exploitation.
- ACT Alberta - the Action Coalition on Human Trafficking Alberta.