Sex Workers’ Access to Police Assistance in Safety Emergencies and Means of Escape from Situations of Violence and Confinement under an “End Demand” Criminalization Model: A Five City Study in Canada Crago, Anna-Louise; Bruckert, Chris; Braschel, Melissa; Shannon, Kate
There is limited available evidence on sex workers (SW) ability to access police protection or means of escaping situations of violence and confinement under an “end demand” criminalization model. Of 200 SW in five cities in Canada, 62 (31.0%) reported being unable to call 911 if they or another SW were in a safety emergency due to fear of police detection (of themselves, their colleagues or their management). In multivariate logistic regression, police harassment–linked to social and racial profiling in the past 12 months (being carded or asked for ID documents, followed by police or detained without arrest) (Adjusted Odd Ratio (AOR): 5.225, 95% Confidence Interval (CI): 2.199–12.417), being Indigenous (AOR: 2.078, 95% CI: 0.849–5.084) or being in Ottawa (AOR: 2.317, 95% CI: 0.865–6.209) were associated with higher odds of being unable to call 911, while older age was associated with lower odds (AOR: 0.941 per year older, 95% CI: 0.901–0.982). In descriptive statistics, of 115 SW who had experienced violence or confinement at work in the past 12 months, 19 (16.52%) reported the incident to police. Other sex workers with shared expenses were the most commonly reported group to have assisted sex workers to escape situations of violence or confinement in the past 12 months (n = 13, 35.14%). One of the least commonly reported groups to have assisted sex workers to escape situations of violence or confinement in the past 12 months were police (n = 2, 5.41%). The findings of this study illustrate how the current “end demand” criminalization framework compromises sex workers’ access to assistance in safety emergencies.
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