Sex trade work in New BrunswickWednesday, July 28 2010
75 past and current sex trade workers in Saint John, Fredericton and mostly Moncton were interviewed in 2006 (54 female and 21 male). Sex trade work is defined as selling sexual services on the streets, through an escort agency, massage parlor or strip club.
Findings: Many sex workers are reluctant to access services and many do not disclose to service providers that they are in the sex trade. Detoxification centres - one of the most widely used services– were cited as the most judgmental of all services. Respondents said they would not access detox centres again regardless of how badly they required them. Although 27% of respondents utilized detox centres, they were reported to be the most judgmental. Sexual Health and AIDS organizations and soup kitchens were noted to be non-judgemental.
- Most sex workers interviewed were born in N.B. and work in their hometown.
- 53% entered the trade between 12 and 20 years of age (25% between 12 and 16).
- Money is by far the most significant factor for those entering and remaining in the trade. (45% said “money for drugs”).
- 5% said ‘Sexual Abuse as a Child’ was a reason for entering the trade: it was “all they knew”, or “understood this to be a way of getting money”.
Regarding current sex trade workers:
Average age: 30 years. The majority had been in the trade for less than 5 yrs.
- 80% work the streets, 20% for an escort agency or strip club.
- 74% work for themselves; 19% use an agent.
- 73% do not want to remain in the trade.
Among the recommendations: Drop-in centres where sex workers can access non-judgemental services, not limited to those wishing to exit the trade; immediate access to addictions treatment, more female beds in detox centres, smooth and direct transition from detox centres to treatment, women-specific drug treatment and sensitivity training for detoxification staff in particular.
- Tolerance/Safety Zones to minimize issues with community, reduce harassment, ensure safety.
- Safe housing for those who wish to exit the trade, including programs that support sex workers and be flexible for short and long term stays.
- Sex Trade Research Initiative, New Brunswick, Stacy Lee and John Coates, PhD, January 2007
For. Executive Council Office, Women’s Issues Branch.