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In the early morning hours of Dec. A Toronto newspaper had published details of her job as a sex worker — along with her full name. That spice cost Guo: initial coverage and follow-up columns took a toll on her health, she told HuffPost Canada over email. She suffered fitful dreams and intrusive thoughts about death and disappearing. Guo's family already knew about her sex work, but the public scrutiny was nerve-wracking for her parents. Guo worried their colleagues would find out and judge them.
They're innocent to all of this. Like many sex workers, Guo made great efforts to conceal her identity online. She blurred her face and identifiable body parts in many ads. She went by a pseudonym, Dawn Lee. Guo gave permission for HuffPost to use her real name for this story, and said she wouldn't have been bothered by coverage of the hearing itself, which was public record.
However, she described the framing of her escort work as a detriment to the law profession as a "smear campaign. A sex worker is anyone who consents to providing sexual services in exchange for money. As an umbrella term, sex work covers escorts, cam models, phone operators, adult entertainment performers, strippers, erotic masseuses, and street-based workers.
Around 77 per cent are women, according to a report funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. While "prostitution" is Canada's legal term , many activists prefer the term "sex work" for being less loaded with societal disapproval.
HuffPost Canada spoke to several Canadian sex workers about their experiences with stigma. What kept them up at night isn't the services they provide. Stigma against sex workers, they said, creates barriers to their labour rights, endangers their safety, and puts them at odds with legislation that outlaws how they operate. Andrea Werhun, author of Modern Whore , a memoir of her escort work , was outed twice: among strangers in a fraternity and then by her uncle to her family.