Indigenous Sex Workers and Canadian Outreach Programs


  • Sarah Newman Carleton University


Indigenous sex workers are subjected to the normalization of colonial violence. This colonial violence is perpetuated through the intervention of state actors stripping their agency through state law. Outreach programs in Canada are vital resources in ensuring that Indigenous sex workers are provided with a safe working environment through a human rights framework and occupational safety precautions. How outreach programs resist or invoke Bill C-36 or the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act (PCEPA) is crucial in discovering whether or not they create a safe environment for Indigenous sex workers. In this article, the outreach programs Safe Harbour Outreach Project (SHOP), Maggie’s Toronto, Hope Restored Canada, PACE Society, and Exit Doors Here will be researched. Moreover, their connection to state law will be reviewed from an Indigenous feminist lens to discover whether or not they work from a decolonial framework or invoke state control over Indigenous sex workers. The following questions are to be asked of the outreach programs, are they positioned as prohibitionists or are they aiming for sex work decriminalization? Do they have culturally specific programs in place? Do they respect and support the voices of Indigenous sex workers? And lastly, are there any barriers in place which can limit access to these programs? This article is premised on providing vital information in terms of how outreach programs can improve their relations with Indigenous sex workers from an Indigenous feminist perspective.