Sex Workers in Canada Essay by Quality Writers

Sex Workers in Canada
An examination of how the sex trade in Canada was viewed in the first half of the 20th century.
# 102926 | 1,655 words | 6 sources | APA | 2008 | US

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This essay takes a look at the issue of prostitution in Canada at the beginning of the 20th century. The paper points out that, in more recent years, theorists have increasingly begun to frame prostitution as a social issue, and as an occupation forced on marginalized, poverty-stricken people. However, in earlier times, it was more common to frame prostitution as a moral issue, or as a law enforcement issue. The paper ultimately attempts to show how the failure to suppress prostitution was directly linked to the failure to understand it, which in turn was based on a sexist inability to conceptualize women as subjects making choices, due to extenuating socioeconomic circumstances.

From the Paper:

"Nilsen notes that in the period 1906 to 1917, most local residents of Vancouver perceived prostitutes as nothing but blight on the city, and a negative influence on property values. Unlike national reformers, they failed to see prostitutes as women for whom they should feel pity. They failed to perceive them as victims of pimps, or as victims of socioeconomic circumstances. Their response to prostitution was to draw up petitions to have it removed by stringent law enforcement. On the other hand, the National Council of Women, which in other respects was a philanthropic organization, saw the solution to prostitution as being moral education and tougher laws (Nilsen, 1980). It is suggested that, as the members of that esteemed council were all middle class women, they had never been in the situation of having to feed themselves or their children on nothing but "moral education." What is interesting to note is that although both residents and the National Council of Women were coming at the matter from different perspectives, both had a touching faith that laws could remove the problem."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Levesque, Andree. "Deviance," Making and Breaking the Rules: Women in Quebec, 1919-1939. Trans. Yvonne M. Klein. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1994, 74-80.
  • Myers, Tamara. (2006). Caught: Montreal's Modern Girls and the Law, Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
  • Nilsen, Deborah. (1980). "The 'Social Evil': Prostitution in Vancouver, 1900-1920." In her Own Right: Selected Essays on Women's History in BC. Eds. Barbara Latham and Cathy Kess: 205-28.
  • Sangster, Joan. (2002). "Judging Girls in Court," Girl Trouble: Female Delinquency in English Canada. Toronto: Between the Lines, 69-102.
  • Sangster, Joan. (2001). "Prostitution and Promiscuity: Sexual Regulation and the Law," Regulating Girls and Women: Sexuality, Family, and the Law in Ontario, 1920-1960. Toronto: Oxford University Press: 85-130.

Cite this Essay:

APA Format

Sex Workers in Canada (2008, April 06) Retrieved March 09, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Sex Workers in Canada" 06 April 2008. Web. 09 March. 2021. <>