Commercial Sex Information Service CSIS

Listing last updated: October 14, 2002


Essays, papers, articles and presentations that analyse the impact of the legal system on sex workers in Canada and around the world.


  • Prostitution in Canada: Invisible Menace or Menace of Invisibility? — By Sylvia Davis.
    This is quite possibly the most thorough and well-written essay on decriminalizing prostitution to date. It outlines why making prostitution a crime has not and will never protect prostitutes from harm, or protect the public from the "effects" of prostitution. It examines the theories behind the main legislative approaches to prostitution — criminalization, abolition and regulation. Specifically, this paper focuses on Canada, how its approach to prostitution is defective, what alternative reforms are available, which of these would be most effective and how they might best be implemented.

    This document is LONG! — 197K, (about 3 min. to download) so you might want to save it as "source" to read on screen later or print it out (see printing tips).
  • Prostitution and HIV/AIDS. By Karen Bastow. HIV/AIDS Policy & Law Newsletter 1995: 2(2); Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network.
    "Female prostitutes in particular are perceived as the bridge between an HIV-infected "underworld" and the "general population" (to be read as heterosexual white males). According to policy-makers and the media, the protection of public health justifies draconian legal measures and moral intolerance…"
  • 'Horrible Temptations': sex, men, and working-class male youth in urban Ontario, 1890-1935. (HORRTEMP.PDF) By Steven Maynard. Canadian Historical Review, June 1997.
  • Traditional Data Distort Our View of Prostitution By Fran Shaver. Notes for my presentation during the panel "Demystifying Sex Work" When Sex Works: International Conference on Prostitution and Other Sex Work September 27-29, 1996 UQAM, Montréal (Qc)
    A good argument against using only data collected through service agencies or the court system.
  • "Morals Cost Money…" Economics course in Women's studies, 1993-94. By Tomiye Ishida.
    Tomiye Ishida didn't like what she heard in her Women's Studies class. This paper, which was distributed to her class, is a piece of her mind. It's a sharp indictment of sex-negative feminist attitudes towards whores. Her analysis, drawn from nine years' personal experience in the sex trade, leaves no stone unturned.
  • Redefining Prostitution as Sex Work on the International Agenda by Jo Bindman, Anti-Slavery International. With participation of Jo Doezma, Network of Sex Work Projects. ©1997.
    An extremely important document that demonstrates how United Nations and global labour legislation can protect the human rights of sex workers. This document is humongus! — 366K. 158 pages in print.
  • Defense of Prostitutes' Rights by Wendy McElroy. An audio file (mp3) delivered at the symposium "Selling Sexuality: Women's Freedom or Women's Oppression," Randolph-Macon Women's College, Lynchburg, VA. A panel with Kathleen Barry, November 9, 2000. Source:
  • Final Report to Unaids: Police and Sex Workers in Papua New Guinea, 1997. By Carol Jenkins.
    "A peer educator-based intervention for police, aimed specifically at reducing the frequency of gang rape of sex workers, was launched in mid-1996 as part of a larger intervention with sex workers."
  • Check out John Lowman's Homepage for important research on Violence Against People Who Prostitute in British Columbia.

Sex Work & Migration

  • Sex workers and Violence Against Women: Utopic Visions or Battle of the Sexes? — By Laura Ma Agustín. Development, Society for International Development, Vol. 44, No. 3, September 2001.
    "…uncovers some of the myths around sex workers and the men engaging their services within the context of building a movement to end 'violence against women'. She argues that totalizing all experiences of prostitution with a view to punishment and criminalization does not work and advocates a much more visionary and pluralistic approach."
  • Discourses Surrounding Prostitution Policies in the UK (UK-DISCOURSE.PDF) — By Johanna Kantola and Judith Squires, Department of Politics, University of Bristol ( A paper to be presented in the PSA Annual Conference, Aberdeen, April 5-7, 2002.
  • Benevolent State, Law-Breaking Smugglers, and Deportable and Expendable Women: An Analysis of the Canadian State's Strategy to Address Trafficking in Women (REFUGE-19.4.PDF) — By Sunera Thobani. Refuge Vol. 19, No. 4, pp. 24-33.
  • The Annotated Guide to The Complete UN Trafficking Protocol (UN-TRAFFICK.PDF) —. Prepared by Ann Jordan, International Human Rights Law Group ( May 2000.
    The definitive guide to this extremely important piece of international legislation. Includes The UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, The UN Convention Against Transnational Crime and annotations and official explanatory notes.
  • Beyond Boundaries: A Critical Look at Women Labour Migration and theTrafficking Within (MS Word:BEYOND.DOC. RTF: BEYOND.RTF) By Thérèse Blanchet, Drishti Research Centre. Submitted to USAID, Dhaka, April 2002.
  • The "Natasha" Experience: Migrant Sex Workers From The Former Soviet Union And Eastern Europe In Turkey (NATASHA.PDF) — By Leyla Güšlçür, New York University, New York, USA and Pinar Ilkkaracan, Women for Women's Human Rights, Turkey. Women's Studies International Forum, Vol. 25, No. 4, pp. 411-421, 2002.
  • From White Slaves to Trafficking Survivors: Notes on the Trafficking Debate (CMD-0002M.PDF) — By Annuska Derks, University of Nijmegen, the Netherlands. Working Paper Series, The Center for Migration and Development, Princeton University. Working Paper No. 00-02m, May 2000.
  • Ouch! Western feminists' 'wounded attachment' to the 'third world prostitute' — By Jo Doezema, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex. May 2000. (A later version of this paper appears in Feminist Review, No. 67, Spring 2001 pp. 16-38)
  • Who gets to choose? Coercion, consent and the UN Trafficking Protocol — By Jo Doezema, Institute of Development Studies, University of Brighton. (a later version of this paper published in Gender and Development, Volume 10 No. 1, March 2002)
  • An Interview with Jo Doezema, of the Network of Sex Work Projects: Does attention to trafficking adversely affect sex workers' rights? (RHR-DOEZEMA.PDF) — By Elaine Murphy and Karin Ringheim, Reproductive Health and Rights – Reaching the Hardly Reached. pp. 13-15.
  • Only rights can stop wrongs: A critical assessment of anti-trafficking strategies — By Marjan Wijers, Clara Wichmann Institute, Expert Centre Women and Law, Amsterdam; Marieke van Doorninck, Mr A. de Graaf Foundation, Dutch Institute for Prostitution Issues, Amsterdam. Paper presented at EU/IOM STOP European Conference on Preventing and Combating Trafficking in Human Beings — A Global Challenge for the 21st Century. September 18-20, 2002, European Parliament, Brussels, Belgium.
  • Migration, Sex Work, and Trafficking in Persons — By Penelope Saunders. A condensed version of this article was published as "Working on the Inside: Migration, Sex Work and Trafficking in Persons," in Legal Link (Australia), Vol. 11, No. 2, 2000.
    Can sex workers and anti-trafficking activists work together? Where do sex worker rights fit into an anti-trafficking framework? This article explores these questions based on the authors' experience as part of the NSWP lobby at the UN Trafficking Protocol negotiations.
  • Sexual Trafficking and Forced Prostitution of Children By Penelope Saunders. Presentation at a Journalists' Seminar, New York City, November, 1998.
    "I did my best to present a balanced view about young people who are involved in the sex industry and to explain the current ways of speaking about 'trafficking in children.' In my paper I raised three points regarding self-definition, sexual exploration and age in relation to a labor framework… This is not intended to be a polished article, just my notes. The second half consists of some resources I distributed to the audience."
  • Migrant Sex Workers from Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union: The Canadian Case (MCDONALD.PDF) By Lynn McDonald, Brooke Moore and Natalya Timoshkina, Centre for Applied Social Research University of Toronto. Funded by Status of Women Canada's Policy Research Fund. November 2000.
  • Israeli government must stop human rights abuses against trafficked women — Amnesty International Press Release, May 18, 2000.

'White Slavery' & 'Moral Panics'

  • Loose Women or Lost Women? — The re-emergence of the myth of 'white slavery' in contemporary discourses of 'trafficking in women'. By Jo Doezema. Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK. Presented at the ISA Convention, Washington, DC, February 17 - 21, 1999
    Gender Issues, Vol. 18, no. 1, Winter 2000, pp. 23-50.
    "I examine how narratives of 'white slavery' and 'trafficking in women' function as cultural myths, constructing particular conceptions of the issue of migration for the sex industry. The myths around 'white slavery' were grounded in the perceived need to regulate female sexuality under the guise of protecting women…"
  • 'White Slavery' As Metaphor: Anatomy of a Moral Panic. By Mary Ann Irwin. Ex Post Facto: The History Journal, 1996 - Volume V. History Department, San Francisco State University
    "Whether or not white slavery actually existed or represented a significant factor in prostitution will not be argued here. Many Victorians were convinced that white slavery existed, while many others were just as certain that it did not; what is of concern is the dialogue itself…"

Pittsburg 1949 - Photograph by Charles

Pittsburg Courier Photographic Archives
Fotofolio, Box 661 Canal Sta. NY, NY 10013
ISBN 1-881270-62-9

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Created: September 26, 1997
Last modified: October 14, 2002
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