Most Sex Workers Satisfied With Their Jobs And Don’t See Themselves As Victims, Survey Finds

Most sex workers in Canada are comfortable in their work, according to a national survey of prostitutes, their partners, clients and managers. The study, funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and based on hundreds of interviews in six communities, found that 70% of sex workers are satisfied with their jobs. Eighty-two per cent feel they are appropriately paid and 68% feel they have good job security. ” said lead researcher Cecilia Benoit. During debate over the Conservative government’s new prostitution law, Bill C-36, which seeks to abolish the industry by criminalizing it, the bill’s supporters have portrayed sex work as intrinsically exploitative.

The Conservatives brought in C-36 after the Supreme Court struck down the old law. It is expected to become law this winter. The bill is being studied in the Senate, where witnesses have given starkly different views of the profession, with backers of the legislation insisting that sex workers — who they claim are often trafficked women and children — are victims. The researchers — in Ottawa on Monday and Tuesday to present preliminary findings from the ongoing study — say that’s not what most sex workers say. “They talk to us about the amount of control they have over their work situation,” said researcher Mikael Jansson. “They say it gives them independence, given their life situation, and it gives them income,” said Ms. Benoit. Eighty-one per cent of sex workers and 83% of clients surveyed agreed that the providers set the terms of the transactions.

“What we’ve found from the data is when it comes to workers, clients and their interaction, sex workers set the terms and conditions of the service,” said Chris Atchison, of the University of Victoria. Mr. Atchison, who has been interviewing sex workers and clients for 20 years, says that the more comfortable that transaction, the better. “The longer the exchange goes on the less likely that we’re going to see conflict and the more likely we’re going to see increased sexual safety between the partners,” he said. Sex workers report significantly higher rates of post-traumatic stress disorder than police, firefighters, nurses and even photojournalists who have worked in disaster zones.

They also report higher levels of childhood trauma than most Canadians. “Things that happen early on in life matter later,” said Ms. Benoit. The researchers interviewed 218 sex workers in six communities: St. John’s, N.L., Montreal, Waterloo, Ont., Fort McMurray, Alta., Calgary and Victoria. They tried to ensure the sample was representative, but included no workers in Canada illegally and no children. Most sex workers are of age and not trafficked, the researchers say. “Seventy per cent of people started after age 19,” said Ms. Benoit. “When we do further analysis I think we’ll see that their situation is much better than for people who start earlier on. Although they interviewed high-end escorts and low-paid street workers, they likely didn’t get full reports from the industry’s extremes, says Ms. Benoit. “If you think of the sex industry as a continuum, there are people over here who have a lot of control and make a lot of money, and you have people over here who are forced,” she said. “Our study probably got people in the middle and towards the ends, but not at the extremes.

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Women have always been exploited on the basis of sex, class, caste and race. Women do not engage themselves in such activities but they are forced by the environment they live in. Women’s of all the age group are sexually exploited, we being the members of the society have the duty to stop all this. No society that purports to uphold gender equality should tolerate and accept this exploitation of women and girls. It is the fundamental human right to be free from all human exploitation in all forms. Sexual exploitation is no work; rather it can never be characterized as work.

Awareness to all must be ensured in order to eliminate such practices from our society. We must try to promote awareness programs especially in the backward areas, where people are less educated, engaging local population can prove to be of great help in order to stop such practices. We all wish to live in an environment that is well structured and is free from all the ill practices but we forget our duties and responsibilities towards it. People like us only are engaged in such practices, we ourselves are responsible for creating such an environment. From generation to generation the things and our economic and social values are getting threatened. Building effective complaint mechanism can again be very helpful in dealing with such exploitation at work.

Developing and implementing the codes of conduct: Codes that address such exploitation as abuse must be established so as to solve such issues. Training and raising awareness: People must be addressed about our social cultural norms and also steps must be taken to train people, and develop tools that help in awareness. Victim assistance mechanism: To assist the victims a mechanism must be established because this will help in reducing our job and efforts. Other steps such as complaint mechanism, investigation must also be conducted because this will help in providing safer environment to women. Our recent analysis shows that this type of exploitation has reached the greatest heights and also it has reached the highest levels of management. Copyright © Ryan Mutt, All Rights Reserved. If you want to use this article on your website or in your ezine, make all the urls (links) active.

A man who attacked and raped three sex workers in three weeks in his own home has been jailed. Eugen Ancuta was found guilty of raping the women over consecutive weeks in August 2018 in Liverpool. Police described the attacks carried out by Ancuta as “shocking”, with the victims all left “physically and mentally traumatised”. The 31-year-old, of Grosvenor Road, Wavertree, was jailed for 18 years at Liverpool Crown Court. He will also be made subject to a further six years on extended licence. The rapes took place on Grosvenor Road on 11, 19 and 26 August. Ancuta was convicted of raping and sexually assaulting the women. He admitted physically assaulting them but denied rape.

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Sources said The Priest was linked to the murder of 28s gang leader Nathaniel Moses, 32, also known as Nigga, in Strand in January. In another twist in this bizarre case, allegations have surfaced a high-profile gang leader previously named a suspect in another underworld killing, ordered the hit on Moses. But a gang source who knew Moses this week denied Moses was linked to satanism or sex workers and insisted he had never heard of The Priest. Community Safety MEC Dan Plato told Weekend Argus the connection between gangsterism and satanism was a massive problem in Cape Town. "The gangster and drug trade on the Cape Flats is closely linked to satanism. Youngsters we interview, that’s what they tell us. Satanism and its links to crime were in the spotlight this week when 20-year-old Aljar Swartz was found guilty in the Western Cape High Court of beheading Lee Adams, 15, in Ravensmead three years ago. Swartz claimed he’d been under the control of Satan at the time. Police spokeswoman Constable Noloyiso Rwexana said: "A case of murder is still under investigation. But senior police sources, a gang source and another with close links to policing elaborated on the case, saying it had exposed intricate underworld dealings. Weekend Argus has also seen evidence of this. Moses was killed by two gunmen who walked up to his car and fired several shots at point blank range. He died at the scene. Moses, who at one stage owned a club in Strand which closed in December, was the gang boss of a faction of the 28s called The Mobsters. A police source said they had carried out hits for 28s gang kingpin George "Geweld" Thomas who was last year sentenced to seven life terms in jail. Weekend Argus understands The Priest had been trying to take control of The Mobsters and that Moses’s murder may have paved the way. This is where the sex workers fit in. Two sources confirmed The Priest recruited sex workers who operated in areas including Voortrekker Road and Strand. "The prostitutes are recruited and go through satanic rituals," one said. One source said men under The Priest went into various clubs recruited attractive women and took them to more upmarket clubs and lavished them with gifts. Eventually they were introduced to sex work and satanic rituals. Two sources told Weekend Argus the hit on Moses was carried out by members of the Sexy Boys gang, which had a stronghold in areas including Belhar. The gang source said while he did not know about The Priest, there were rumours the Sexy Boys had offered R1 million to have Moses killed. He said weeks before the murder, 28s gangsters were beaten up by Sexy Boys gangsters at a popular Bellville club. The gang source said infighting in the 28s started a few months before the murder, when Moses had decided to forgive a woman he had a fallout with. This infuriated other 28s and caused some members to turn on Moses, who they denounced as their leader. Moses had received threats and changed his routine in an attempt to avoid ambush. The gang source said Moses seemed to have known he was going be murdered and tried to turn his life around in the weeks leading up it. He was learning to play the guitar and be peaceful. "What happened had to happen. That guy knew he was on his way out." The second source confirmed this, saying women who tried to get out of the network went missing. Members of the Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce had not heard of sex workers involved in satanism. Occult practices started filtering into criminal gangs less than two decades ago. Johan de Beer is a former head of the police’s occult-related crime unit in the Free State and the director of the Auksano trauma centre in Bloemfontein. He said the centre helps "victims of destructive subcultures" and he believed elements of witchcraft in Lesotho evolved, spread and became part of gang culture. Welcome to the universe of delight! 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When they are well settled for the night, she bids them goodbye and leaves for work. Her children -three girls and a boy, are aged between three and eleven years. While away at work, the eldest child, a girl, watches over her siblings. They live in the slums of Huruma in Nairobi. In the early morning, just before sunrise, Susan returns home to her children. She makes their breakfast and prepares them for school. Once all the children leave, she cleans the house and does their laundry before heading to the market to buy food for their dinner. In the evening, the routine is repeated. Susan’s children believe she works in a bar in Nairobi’s central business district. But the truth is she is a commercial sex worker. Her base is in one of the streets in downtown Nairobi, around the Muthurwa area. Unlike many other sex workers, Susan does not roam the streets looking for clients. Her ‘office’ is in one of the bars in a dingy street, where she strategically positions herself as she slowly sips a drink. Clients know how to spot her kind, and she too knows how to spot those who need her services. It is a job she has been doing for the last 10 years, one that she is proud of. "I enjoy this job as it is what enables me to put food on the table for my children," says the single mother. She makes about 8,000 shillings a month, which she says is sufficient enough to put a roof over her children’s head, feed and clothe them. Female sex worker Susan Wangui during the interview. Susan’s entry into the flesh trade business was as a result of desperation. "I had searched for a job for a very long time, without any success. I found myself always borrowing money from my friends to feed my children. "Why are you always asking us for money, yet you are a woman like us? Susan, a class 8 drop-out then accompanied her friend to town and was immediately introduced to a client, whom she ‘serviced’. And that marked her debut into the flesh trade. A decade later, she has no regrets. Each night, Susan attends to between three to seven clients, charging between 200 - 300 shillings for each. On very few lucky occasions, she gets a client who pays 1,000 shillings. Each day, she is assured that she will have money to buy food for her children. Food is cheap in the slums, and with 100 shillings, one can comfortably feed a family of six. It does not matter if the meal is a balanced one. Despite Susan’s love for her job, she is aware of the risks she faces as a sex worker. Susan and other sex workers also face the risk for HIV, Sexually Transmitted Infections, unwanted pregnancies and a myriad of other health problems such as pneumonia. A fact acknowledged by Dr. George Githuka, Programme Manager for key populations at the National AIDS and STI Control Programme (NASCOP). "Female sex workers are what we call a high risk group due to their behaviour. What I mean is that if she has several clients in a day, she can easily acquire or transmit HIV. If she is HIV negative, she runs the risk of acquiring HIV. Dr. George Githuka of NASCOP talking about the interventions the government is undertaking with regard to key populations such as female sex workers in Kenya. Even more vulnerable is the contribution of social laws and legislations that make it harder for them to do their work. "The stigma and discrimination that female sex workers face makes them hide the true nature of their work. Most of their activities are also criminalized, making it difficult for them to access health services, and also making it difficult for health workers to access them. This means services that would help reduce their vulnerability to HIV infection do not effectively reach them," he adds. According to UNAIDS, review of data in 50 countries showed that 3 out of every 25 female sex workers were HIV positive. Further, the chance of women who engage in sex work being infected with HIV is 13.5 times higher than others. A 2009 Modes of Transmission study found that in Kenya, sex workers contribute to 14.1% of all new infections at a national level. It is such figures that the Kenyan government, in recent years, has embarked on programmes that target this population. The Ministry of Health, through NASCOP has initiated various interventions. "In the past, health services were not tailored to be responsive to the health needs of sex workers. NASCOP’s Most at Risk Populations (MARPS) program is aimed at addressing this gap. We offer targeted interventions that are in tune with their needs, such as advocating for their free access to condoms, as well as advocating for their free HIV testing every three months. We also emphasize on STI screening each time a sex worker visits a hospital, and subsequent treatment offered where necessary," says Dr. Githuka. Other players complementing and collaborating with the government in these efforts are those in the private sector. One such programme is the Sex Workers Outreach Programme (SWOP). Run by Kenya’s University of Nairobi and Canada’s University of Manitoba, SWOP is a sex workers’ health project that promotes the health and safety of female sex workers. It does so by providing them with comprehensive reproductive health services, including HIV/AIDS services. It also educates them on the benefits of consistent and correct use of condoms. Susan is a regular client at SWOP’s Nairobi clinic. She has attended a number of workshops and she has accessed various reproductive health services at SWOP. "When I started sex work 10 years ago, I was not keen on condom use. I did not know much about condoms, and did not insist much about using them with my clients. But over the years, I have come to realize their value. This was after my friends and I were introduced to SWOP four years ago by a community health worker in my Huruma neighbourhood," she says. Today, Susan does not compromise on condom use. "My clients must use a condom. I don’t know them or where they come from, so I cannot accept that we have sex without protection," she says. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), male latex condoms have an 85% or greater protective effect against the sexual transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Susan often comes across clients who refuse to use a condom, and instead offer her a handsome amount of money. "For me, a condom is a must. When someone offers me double or triple the amount, I always ask myself why. What is his motive for doing so? She says despite the enticing offer, she never gives in. "I would rather get paid 200 shillings for using a condom, than 2,000 shillings for not using one. What will happen to me tomorrow if I take that 2,000? I may not live to see my children go to secondary school. No, that I cannot accept," she says. Susan has no regrets about losing a client who refuses to use a condom. "There is no day I can miss a client. God always has good plans for me because he knows I need to feed my children, so I don’t pine over losing such a client," she says. With a career spanning over ten years, Susan has formed a clientele base of regular customers, some of whom she has offered her services for many years. Among them are married men, who often call her when in need. But despite the good ‘business relations’ she has with them, Susan insists on using condoms with these clients too. "This is a business, this is not love. He is not my husband, so we must use protection," she says. A condom dispenser in a health facility, where those who need condoms can get them for free. Susan gets her condoms from SWOP, some health facilities, or at the numerous toilets around town that stock condoms in the condom dispensers. She picks as many as she can, sometimes even boxes at a go. While Susan may not have problems accessing condoms, NASCOP acknowledges the difficulties some sex workers get while trying to get them. "Condoms are available from public hospitals. While it is normal for someone to pick two or three condoms, a sex worker may need to pick a whole box of them. However, when they attempt to do so, they face questioning from the hospital staff, with some being told to return the box and instead ‘just pick a few’," says Dr. Githuka. Susan however says that sometimes there are no condoms in public health facilities, which inconveniences her when she really needs them. During the world condom day on 13 February 2014, NASCOP assured all Kenyans of enough condom stock for anyone who needs them. "We have about 100 million condoms in stock right now. Kenyans consume about 150 - 200 million condoms annually.

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