Guides, tools and topics
Hi! Here you will find guides, tools and Q&As by topic to help you educate yourself, make decisions or support a friend.
Guides and tools
Questions and answers by topic
1. Exchange of sexual services, sex work, prostitution
The strict definition of a prostitute refers to a person offering sexual services (physical sexual relations, sexual images and videos, erotic massages) in exchange for payment, which can take many forms such as money, goods, or services.
Engaging in prostitution has been (and still is) frowned upon in society. The terms “prostitute” and “prostitution” often carry a negative and demeaning connotation. Accordingly, many people selling sexual services prefer to refer to their activities as “sex work” and prefer to be referred to as “sex workers”. One thing is for sure, no one is in a better position to define their own practice and the associated terminology than the person themselves.
Let’s be honest: it is also possible that you have heard or even used the term “whore” to insult someone. Very often, this term is used to refer to people who have sex, flirt, act seductively, or wear revealing clothing that can be considered “sexy”. If “whore” is used as an insult, it is because it echoes the taboos and negativity associated with sex work. This term should be avoided, except by those who reclaim it.
The short answer is no.
12 and 13 year olds can consent to sex with people who are less than two years older than they are and 14 and 15 year olds can consent to sex with people who are less than five years older than they are. As for 16 and 17 year olds, there is no age limit for consenting to sex with older people.
This does not apply when there is a relationship of authority (teacher, coach, parental figure, etc.). It also does not apply when there is remuneration (in money, goods or services).
When there is remuneration, the law considers that, if the person is a minor, they are a victim of sexual exploitation. Even among adults, sex work is criminalized : it is illegal in Canada to purchase sexual services. People who sell sex are considered victims and clients are considered criminals.
If a minor selling sexual service is reported to the authorities, the Director of Youth Protection (DYP) is mandated to intervene. Interventions involve the minor and his or her family. This can take the form of a periodic follow-up and, in some cases, a stay in a youth center.
Despite these laws, minors exchange and sell sexual services for many reasons and to meet various needs. If this is your case, you may experience several difficulties : stigmatization, isolation, conflicts with those around you, violence that can take many forms…
Do not hesitate to contact a PIaMP worker if you are selling sexual services or if you are thinking of doing so. We are here to support you, without judgment.
Getting an STI (sexually transmitted infection) is always a risk when having sex. However, by using protection such as condoms, dental dams or PreP, the risk of transmission of these infections is considerably reduced. Furthermore, if you have multiple sexual partners, you should get tested regularly (approximately every 3 months), regardless of the context
Since sex workers are generally very knowledgeable about how to best protect themselves from STIs and how to detect them quickly, they do not transmit more infections than the rest of the population. In fact, it is quite the opposite! Indeed, the general population is not sufficiently informed on these subjects and many false beliefs persist. These false beliefs increase the risk of transmission of STIs.
Some people will try to convince you not to wear a condom. If you are younger than your partner(s), they may think you are easier to convince and manipulate. It can be very difficult to negotiate when there is an uneven power dynamic between two people.
If you have ever been in a situation where someone has tried to convince you to have unprotected sex when you were not comfortable doing so, don’t hesitate to contact a PIaMP worker. We are here to listen to you and give you the tools you need.
3. Help a friend
If, like many people, you don’t know much about the different forms of sex work, we advise you not to stick with your first reaction. Indeed, prejudices are widely circulated and it is important to remain open-minded and to inform yourself in order to be aware of a wider range of possible realities.
Here are some tips we can give you:
- Faced with this disclosure, be welcoming and kind. It is important not to jump to conclusions and to take the time to listen to your friend.
- The stigma attached to people who have a sugar daddy (and more broadly to people who exchange sexual services) is very strong. Keep in mind that your friend is still the same person you know and like.
- If you have concerns, try to understand where they are coming from: are they associated with myths and prejudices about sugaring, or are they based on facts you have observed or heard?
- It is normal to have concerns, especially if the sugar daddy is older or if your friend is a minor. Your friend may indeed be experiencing abuse or manipulation. If that is the case, they may need to be properly equipped to recognize these dangerous situations.
- If your friend is open to receiving support, you can offer them reading materials or connect them to resources where they can get help. They could meet with PIaMP workers.
- If your friend is not open to receiving support, the most important thing you can do is express your availability and support.
- If you are having difficulty assessing whether or not your friend is in danger, you can also contact the PIaMP. We can help you evaluate the situation and act accordingly.
- Read up on the topic, you can start by clicking here.
- Your friend may not be in a dangerous situation, especially if they are of age and have the tools to assert themselves and recognize violent situations. In this case, be careful not to be too insistent. Some questions may be more out of curiosity than support and your friend may find them tiresome. Let them decide when they want to talk to you.
Don’t hesitate to seek support for yourself if you have concerns, as they can be overwhelming.
4. Cyber security
Canadian law considers child pornography to be any photo or video of a sexual nature that exposes a person under the age of 18. So yes, it is technically illegal for minors. It’s legal for people who are of age.
So, by law, it is illegal :
– To possess, a sexual photo or video of a person under the age of 18;
– to produce, that is to say, to take a photo or video of a sexual nature of a person under the age of 18;
– access, that is, choose to view or seek to obtain a sexual photograph or video of a person under the age of 18;
– distribute these images, i.e., send a sexual photo or video of a person under 18;
But there is an exception to the law. This exception allows minors to record their own sexual activity, as long as it is produced in a consensual manner. Only the people who participated in the recording (video, photo) can keep it, but cannot show it to anyone else. This means that a teenager could not send a sexual selfie to another teenager.
However, don’t panic! Two teens who exchange selfies in a consensual manner should not be legally punished.
For more information on this topic see : Sexting: What is allowed by law? and Cyberbullying and the non-consensual distribution of intimate images.
Sextortion is a serious crime that aims to extract money (or other forms of retribution) from a person by threatening to (re)share their intimate photos or videos or to make them public.
Sextortion is often a very difficult situation. It can cause various emotions (shame, fear, embarrassment, sadness, etc.).
Please know that you don’t have to be alone with this situation and that you have the right to be listened to and supported. Although it may seem difficult to talk about it, remember that there are people who are there to listen to you without judging you, and that sharing your experience can help you find ways to act on the situation. So don’t hesitate to talk to a significant other.
The PIaMP workers are also there to support you in this type of situation.
You can contact a PIaMP counsellor by text message, phone or email. You can even schedule an appointment. See Talk to a social worker.
There are also other possibilities, depending on your needs, your values and your perception of the situation you are experiencing.
In the case of sextortion, Cybertip.ca recommends that you
– Tell the person who is threatening you that you know what sextortion is, that you know the legal consequences and that you will report their actions. Then, immediately stop all communication with the person;
– Do not give in to the threats (although this may seem difficult to do, the threats may continue afterwards);
– keep evidence and screenshots of the exchanges you have had;
Resources available :
- PIaMP’s social worker
- You can report directly to Cybertip.ca.
- Legal clinics such as Juripop or Rebâtir may be able to help you with your situation.
- You could also consider reporting the situation to the police and filing a complaint. This is your choice. You should know that youth workers from youth organizations or even the sexologist at your school can help you with the legal process.