Managing Sex Work: Information for third parties and sex workers in the incall and outcall sectors of the sex industry

Posted on December, 14 2012 by Action Canada

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Third parties are criticized and denounced in the media, in the law and in our everyday discussions. They are referred to as “pimps” who are abusive, typically male and often racialized. Working with, or for, a third party in the sex industry is often assumed to be inherently abusive or exploitative. Rethinking Management in the Adult and Sex Industry is an innovative research project that set out to demystify and unpack the realities of individuals who act as third parties and to understand the various roles these individuals play in the lives of sex workers. The research showed us that the relationships between third parties and sex workers are much more complex than the simplistic images that populate the public imagination.

Our research demonstrated that third party management takes similar forms as management in other industries and workplaces — organizational structures vary and different kinds of skills and competencies are required depending on the particular establishment and the role of the third party. There is typically a third party involved in some of a sex worker’s labour, whether they are working as an independent or for an agency and third parties take on various roles and responsibilities; they may be an owner or manager, a friend, security, someone who does advertising, a driver or a receptionist.

However, unlike other labour sectors, third parties in the sex industry work within a context of criminalization that undermines sex workers’ and third parties’ ability to take all necessary precautions to ensure a safe and secure working environment. For example, like any other work, the ability to communicate between third parties and sex workers is important to creating healthy and dignified working conditions. So much of this communication can be difficult in a criminalized context. This booklet is a tool to help third parties and sex workers working incall and outcall make informed work related decisions.

The information in this booklet is from interviews with 50 incall and outcall third parties and 27 incall and outcall sex workers across four regions in Canada (Southern Ontario, Eastern Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes) conducted for the Rethinking Management in the Adult and Sex Industry research project.

The information provided in this booklet is not intended to influence anyone to commit illegal acts.

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