“They lack education. They lack information. They lack resources, trust, health care.”
The RCMP estimates that between 600 and 800 foreign women and girls are trafficked into the Canadian sex industry each year, although the authorities admit these figures could be only a fraction of the actual total. ‘Migrant sex workers’ are trafficked, smuggled, non-status, illegal, undocumented or irregular migrants, and legal newcomers working in the sex trade.
The migrant sex worker population faces multiple and intersecting issues, including language and cultural barriers, isolation, poor working conditions, and violence.
The Wellesley Institute is pleased to release new research from Natalya Timoshkina and Lynn McDonald of the University of Toronto’s Institute for Life Course and Aging: Building Partnerships for Service Provision to Migrant Sex Workers .
The study findings pointed to a dramatic increase in the number of migrants in all sectors of the local sex industry, and in the number of health and social service organizations that either deal with this population or are interested in getting involved. At the same time, the research found that service provision to migrants in the sex trade remains sporadic and fragmented. This report represents the most comprehensive effort to date to assess the situation with migrant sex trade in Toronto. Migrant sex workers are one of the most hard-to-reach, underserved and poorly studied populations. Information provided in this report should be particularly useful to health and social service providers, social work students, and academics. The report also may be of interest to the representatives of the media and the general public.
This report was released via webinar on November 14. Access our discussion with co-investigator Natalya Timoshkina here.