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Buying Sex

Buying Sex (Trailer)

| 2 min

This feature documentary explores the state of prostitution laws in Canada. It captures the complexity of the issue by listening to the frequently conflicting voices of sex workers, policy-makers, lawyers, and even the male buyers who make their argument for why prostitution is good for society. Warning: This film deals with mature subject matter. Viewer discretion is advised.

Following the release of Buying Sex, Professor Alan Young, counsel for the applicants in Bedford v. Canada and a participant in the film, contacted the NFB to complain that the film provides an incomplete and inaccurate account of the case. The NFB acknowledges that the constitutional challenge is not the focus of the film. Rather, the aim of the film is to examine the current controversy in Canada around the decriminalization of prostitution, of which the Bedford case is one aspect. The goal is to create a film which encourages Canadians to engage in an informed debate about sex work from a national and international perspective. The NFB believes the film achieves this purpose. In the spirit of furthering an informed debate on these issues, including the constitutional challenge, and in response to Prof. Young's concerns, the NFB provides below links to the legal briefs filed by the parties before the Supreme Court of Canada as well as links to the judgments of all three Canadian Courts. The third judgment, from the Supreme Court of Canada, was released in December 2013, following the completion of the film. The Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional the three prostitution related laws challenged by Prof. Young, but suspended its judgment for one year to allow Parliament to consider whether to enact new laws, thus ensuring that the debate surrounding the decriminalization of prostitution will continue in Canada for some time.

Legal Briefs Filed by the Parties in the Supreme Court of Canada

Judgments from the Trial Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court of Canada

Canada (Attorney General) v. Bedford, 2013 SCC 72 (Supreme Court of Canada)

Canada (Attorney General) v. Bedford, 2012 ONCA 186 (Court of Appeal for Ontario)

Bedford v. Canada, 2010 ONSC 4264 (CanLII) (Superior Court of Ontario)

This film deals with mature subject matter. Viewer discretion is advised

  • featuring
    Valerie Scott
    Trisha Baptie
    Alan Young
    Janine Benedet
  • director
    Teresa MacInnes
    Kent Nason
  • writer
    Teresa MacInnes
  • director of photography
    Kent Nason
  • editor
    Teresa MacInnes
    Manfred Becker
  • original music composer
    Asif Illyas
  • sound design
    Alex Salter
  • sound recordist
    Frédéric Edwards
    Mike Filippov
    Dave Hurley
    Aram Kouyoumdjian
    James Lazarenko
    Mike Mydren
    Fredrik Norrgren
    Justine Pimlott
    Jon Ritchie
    Ken Saville
    Brooke Thomson
    Jonas Träskelin
  • production manager
    Sumner Burstyn
    Donna Gall
    Tinni Rappe
  • production assistant
    Cassandra DePetrillo
    Rita Godlevskis
    Bonnie Kells
    Ruth Mitchener
    AJ Murray
    Ben Rayner
  • stills photography
    Laura A. Bombier
    Ruth Mitchener
    Cherry Smiley
  • additional camera
    Greg Biskup
    Anton Leach
    Greg Meeres
  • assistant editor
    John Feron
    Kevin Riley
    Chris Wiseman
    Lee Cripps
  • dialogue editor
    Eva Madden
  • musician
    Asif Illyas
    Shehab Illyas
  • additional voice
    Jim Brown
  • rights
    Elizabeth Klinck
  • clearances
    Elizabeth Klinck
  • title design
    Mélanie Bouchard
  • transcription
    Elizabeth Brown
    Sam Decoste
    Connie Littlefield
    Bryony McStay Fost
    Erin Oakes
    Joanne Sinclair
  • production supervisor
    Roz Power
    Candice Desormeaux
  • technical coordinator
    Steve Hallé
  • online editor
    Doug Woods
  • colorist
    Doug Woods
  • re-recording
    Jean Paul Vialard
  • marketing manager
    Kelley Alexander
  • publicist
    Pat Dillon
  • associate producer
    Hilary Thomson
  • production coordinator
    Vanessa Larsen
    Aimee Wall
  • senior production coordinator
    Isabelle Limoges
  • legal counsel
    Stéphanie L'Écuyer
  • studio administrator
    John William Lutz
    Leslie Anne Poyntz
  • producer
    Annette Clarke
  • executive producer
    Ravida Din


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Ages 16 to 18

Ethics and Religious Culture - Ethical Values
Health/Personal Development - Sexuality
History and Citizenship Education - Civil Rights and Freedoms
Social Studies - Canadian Politics and Government

Buying Sex highlights some of the equity issues in Canada at the moment. Brainstorm the challenges that sex workers face trying to escape the limits of their profession. Present a map of the current prostitution laws across the world. Can students find any similarities between the countries that have more lenient laws? Find news coverage of the Bedford v. Canada decision from multiple sources and search for reporting bias. What is the current status of prostitution laws in Canada?

Buying Sex (Trailer)
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