In 2014, the Canadian parliament, then dominated by the country's Conservative Party, passed Bill C-36, which for the first time made paying for sex a crime. The new law also outlawed receiving a material benefit from the sale of sex, as well as the
advertising of sexual service.
The bill was misleadingly titled the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act, but the actual aim of the legislation was to serve as a first step toward stamping out sex work altogether in Canada.
When the 'Liberal' Party won a majority shortly after the bill took effect, the new government led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged to review the effects of the law after five years.
With 2019 coming to a close, that five-year wait is also
up, and Canadian sex worker rights activists say that the 'Liberal' government has done nothing to evaluate or reform the law -- which they say has put sex workers' lives at risk , and been a gift to sexual predators.
According to a VICE report on the
law's effects, Canadian sex workers now can't work in brothels, can't hire security and can't properly screen clients, because those clients generally will not give their true identities for fear of arrest.
A spokesperson for Canada's Ministry of
Justice said only that the law mandates that a committee study the effects of Bill C-36, and that committee is now being formed.
China is to end a punishment system for prostitution that allowed police to hold sex workers and their clients in custody for up to two years in prison camps it euphemistically called 'education centres'. Detainees were forced to work, allegedly making
toys and household goods.
The detention system will come to an end on 29 December. Those still in custody will be released, according to Xinhua, China's state media.
Prostitution remains illegal in China. It carries punishments of up to 15 days
in detention and fines of up to 5,000 yuan (£546).
A 2013 report by Human Rights Watch interviewed 140 sex workers, clients, police and specialists and found that many sex workers were beaten by police in an attempt to coerce confessions.
isn't totally abandoning the idea of 're-educatio'n. Authorities in the country claim a number of camps in the north-west region of Xinjiang are voluntary education camps that help to combat extremism.
Australia's Northern Territory Parliament has voted to decriminalise sex work through the Sex Industry Bill 2019 . The Bill decriminalises brothels, soliciting and indoor sex work, and gives sex workers access to workplace health and safety protections
already extended to other workers in the state.
CEO of Scarlet Alliance, Jules Kim said :
This is a momentous day for all sex workers and sets a positive example that sex workers are valued members of the community,
deserving of rights and protections. We applaud the NT Government for listening to sex workers and the evidence in fully decriminalising sex work in the NT. Sex work is work and it is fantastic that it is finally being recognised as such. We hope that
these critical reforms will demonstrate the importance of best practice partnerships between sex workers and government and lead to similar campaigns for the decriminalisation of sex work in other states and territories throughout Australia.
Singapore's Parliament has voted to amend its Women's Charter, increasing penalties for sex work-related offences. The Women's Charter Amendment Bill, passed on 4th November, included provisions to strengthen the laws against online vice.
amended the Women's Charter to widen the definition of a brothel, to make it easier for prosecutors to prove a premises is being used for vice activities. The prosecution will now be able to use circumstantial evidence as proof that sex work activities
are being offered, whereas before they would have had to prove sex work was being provided.
The Bill also increases punishments for people who facilitates sex workers entering Singapore, meaning those convicted face a prison sentence of up to 7
years, and a fine of up to $100,000 ($150,000 for repeat offenders). Penalties are also increased for living on the earnings of prostitution (from $10,000 to $100,000).
The Bill also increases enforcement powers for brothel-keeping offences;
brothels were already criminalised in Singapore, but this Bill increases penalties from $3,000 to $100,000 and a 5 year prison sentence. Changes to the law mean anyone letting or sub-letting a property is expected to undertake reasonable diligence to
ensure the premises will not be used for sex work, including identity checks and face-to-face interviews.
The Ministry of Home Affairs has focused specifically on those using remote communication services to facilitate the provision of sexual
services in Singapore, even if the websites used to provide such services are hosted overseas.
The language of the Bill focuses on women and girls, and has not followed the trend to criminalise se workers' customers.
This past summer, without much fanfare, Facebook updated their censorship rules concerning sexual expression on the company's platforms, including Instagram.
The new language, under the guise of preventing sexual solicitation, restricts even further
the posts that sex workers are allowed to share, making them even more exposed to targeted harassment campaigns by anti-sex crusaders.
Among the new things that could get someone Instagram's account flagged and/or removed for Sexual Solicitation:
the eggplant or peach emoji in conjunction with any statement referring to being horny; nude pictures with digital alterations or emojis covering female nipples and buttocks.
The new rules include:
Do not post:
Attempted coordination of or recruitment for adult sexual activities, including but not limited to:
Filmed sexual activities Pornographic activities, strip club shows, live sex performances, erotic dances Sexual, erotic, or tantric massages
Explicit sexual solicitation by, including but not limited to the following, offering or asking for:
Sex or sexual partners Sex chat or conversations Nude photos/videos/imagery
Content that meets both of the following criteria:
Criteria 1: Offer or Ask
Content implicitly or indirectly offers or asks for:
Nude imagery, or Sex or sexual partners, or Sex chat conversations
Criteria 2: Suggestive Elements
Content makes the aforementioned offer or ask using one of the following sexually suggestive elements:
Contextually specific and commonly sexual emojis or emoji strings, or Regional sexualized slang, or Mentions or depictions of sexual activity (including hand drawn, digital, or real world art) such as: sexual roles, sex positions,
fetish scenarios, state of arousal, act of sexual intercourse or activity (sexual penetration or self-pleasuring), or Imagery of real individuals with nudity covered by human parts, objects, or digital obstruction, including long shots of fully nude
Account details of more than 250,000 people who used a site for sex workers in the Netherlands have been stolen in a hack attack.
Email addresses, user names and passwords were stolen from a site called Hookers.nl.
The attacker is believed to
have exploited a bug in its chat room software found last month. Reports suggest the malicious hacker who took the data has offered it for sale on a dark web marketplace.
The website's media spokesman Tom Lobermann told Dutch broadcaster NOS that
the site had informed everyone who had an account about the breach. The message sent by the site's administrators also advised people to change their passwords.
Hookers.nl used a popular program for hosting online forums and discussions called
vBulletin. In late September, security researchers identified a vulnerability in the program that could be exploited to steal data. VBulletin quickly produced a patch for the bug but several sites were breached before they could deploy and install the
Sex work has been legal, but regulated by the Tunisian government since the 19th century. The current laws governing legal sex work were put in place when the country was under French colonial rule in the 1940s, and continued to apply after independence
But after the 'Jasmine Revolution' in 2010 things have gone down hill. Religious groups and women's rights activists have forced most of the government run brothels to close, leaving only a few legal sex workers remaining in the
entire country, according to a new report by the BBC chronicling the plight of Tunisia's last remaining legal sex workers.
Prior to the 2010 uprising, there were an estimated 300 legal sex workers spread among brothels in a dozen cities in
the country. By 2014, that number had been reduced by more than half, to about 120. And today, according to the BBC report, only a dozen remain, in legal brothels in just two cities, the capital city of Tunis, and Sfax.
Even for the remaining
legal sex workers, the threat of religious condemnation has driven away clients, making it much more difficult to earn a living in the legal sex work business.
Websites based in Finaland and used by sex workers worldwide to advertise and share information with each other have been closed down following a judicial warrant by Spanish police. Spanish police issued the warrant on 26th March, since which point the
websites have been unavailable.
The websites, Sihteeriopisto (Secretary College) and the international counterpart, sexworknet, were launched in Finland but maintenance was moved overseas when the sale of sexual services was outlawed in Finland in
Sex workers report the website had a private forum for sex workers only, which was used to share information and warnings about bad clients. A sex worker in Spain said:
The sex workers are shocked. The
website had forum, where sex workers were sharing warnings about bad clients, robbery. It had a private area for sex workers only. There are of course other websites, but none of them has a forum. We lost the platform, where we could share safety tips,
where we could communicate and support each other.
Amsterdam Council has banned guided tours of its red light area from the 1st January next year.
The red-light district usually sits quite high on a tourist's list of must-sees when visiting this interesting city but according to The New York Times,
Amsterdam's deputy mayor, Udo Kock, recently made a statement explaining it's outdated to allow tourists to gape at sex workers' windows and view them as an attraction.
He claims that as the number of tourists walking through the red-light
district grows, the amount of local paying clients decreases. Sex workers then lose business.
Tour companies are a bit put out and claim that tourists will still find themselves strolling the red-light district, but without guides reminding them
to keep quiet and refrain from taking photographs.
A repressive French law passed in 2016 that shifted the criminal responsibility for prostitution from the sellers to the buyers has come under a challenge in court by a group of French sex workers, backed by a consortium of non-profits and activist
groups. The law was supposedly intended to help sex workers but the law has made work as a prostitute more dangerous. The sex workers also say the law violates their sexual and commercial freedoms. The group of about 30 prostitutes and activists took
their cause to France's Constitutional Council last week.
France made the customers of prostitutes the criminals. Buying sex now carries a fine of about $1,700 for a first offense and up to $4,200 for repeats. Prostitution consumers who get caught
under the law must also attend a workshop to be 'educated' on the conditions of life for a sex worker.
But sex workers in France say that rather than protecting their safety, the law has driven their business farther into the shadows, and as a
result, put them in a higher degree of physical danger. They blame the law for the murder last August of Vanessa Campos, a 36-year-old Peruvian transgender sex worker who was killed in a dark, wooded area of the Bois de Boulogn by criminals attempting to
rob her client.
Girls are now forced to hide and promise their clients that the police won't find them, sex worker-turned-activist Giovanna Rincon told The Times.
The constitutional court is expected to hand down a decision on whether the
law is compatible with the French Constitution on February 1.
Update: French court rules that endangering sex workers is constitutional
The French Press Agency reported on Friday that the
Constitutional Council failed to be persuaded by the group of 30 sex workers and nine rights organizations, not only upholding the law but also claiming that it actually increased safety for prostitutes by depriving pimps of their profits.
Council ruled that the law fights against this activity and against the sexual exploitation of human beings, criminal activities founded on coercion and enslavement.
Under the law, a client of prostitutes can be fined up to $1,700 for a first
offense, with penalties hitting $4,200 for repeat patrons. French authorities are serious about enforcing the law, making about 2,800 arrests since the legislation passed about two-and-a-half years ago, according to a New York Times report.