Judges’ View on Offences Against Under-aged Sex Workers

A Canadian Perspective


  • April Miin Miin Chai Simon Fraser University


The objective of this research is to investigate Canadian criminal judge’s view on offences related to procuring, seeking, or controlling under-aged sex workers, and factors influencing sentence severity. Qualitative analysis was conducted on sentencing court reports in Canada obtained through Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII) database. Twelve reasons for sentence court reports that fit the criteria of inclusion were selected as samples. Data analysis and coding procedures were guided by theories put forth by Amirault and Beauregard (2014), and Kingsnorth, MacIntosh, and Wentworth (1999), in combination with a grounded theory approach. Results revealed that mitigating and aggravating factors, and existing provisions in the Criminal Code of Canada were the main factors influencing judges’ decisions on sentence severity. Furthermore, judges’ viewed these offences as inherently wrong, and attributed culpability entirely on the offender by referring to under-aged sex workers as vulnerable victims, and chastising offenders by referring to their behaviours as selfish and disgusting. Implications in relation to current societal views on sex-workers were discussed, and strategies for future research were suggested.