Resistance and Recognition: Sex Workers Organizing

Frances M Shaver PhD

In line with the more recent literature treating sex work as a form of marginalized labour, this paper will explore the experiences of sex workers in Montreal from a number of vantage points. First, by furnishing a brief history of Canadian legislation criminalizing sex work, second by providing a brief history of Stella (an organization by and for sex workers founded in 1995), and third, by recounting some stories about the challenges of organizing from the margins in the current socio-legal environment.


Conflict of Interest: None disclosed
Financial Support/Funding: Social Sciences And Humanities Research Council Of Canada
Sydney Australia, April 2007

Frances M Shaver
Frances M Shaver
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Frances M Shaver PhD

Dr Shaver 'received her doctoral degree in Sociology from the Université de Montréal in 1987. Currently she is Professor and Chair in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Concordia University. Since 1990, she has participated in three Canadian government funded research projects focusing on people working in the sex industry (PWSI), two as the principal investigator and one as a co-investigator.

The first explored gender differences in the work patterns of street-based sex workers in Montreal and San Francisco while the second compared the working experiences of sex workers and hospital workers in Montreal and Toronto. In the third and most recent of these studies,  Frances Shaver, along with Jacqueline Lewis (Principal Investigator) and Eleanor Maticka-Tyndale (University of Windsor, Ontario Canada) partnered with several community organizations in Toronto and Montreal (Exotic Dancers’ Association of Canada, Maggie’s, Stella, and Peel Public Health)  to conduct a five year Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada study to examine the impact of public policy on the health and well-being of PWSI in 2 major Canadian cities. This Sex Trade Advocacy and Research project (STAR) produced two reports for policy makers and a series of information pamphlets for workers in the sex industry.'

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WAS - World Association fro Sexual HealthSociety of Australian SexologiestsAustralian Centre for Sexual HealthashnAOFSCSEPI - Council of Sex Education and Parenthood (International)SASSM