Buying Sex

Following the recent acts of violence and murder of street prostitutes across Canada, the Ontario Superior Court struck down the laws regulating prostitution, sparking legal appeals and contentious debate. Buying Sex brilliantly zeroes in on two radically different visions at the heart of these debates through the stories of those who have most at stake: the buyers and sellers of sex. Sex workers who successfully challenged the laws argue for a model of decriminalization, a capitalist free market of consensual sellers and buyers. Another group calls for zero tolerance that would criminalize the buyers, arguing that street prostitutes are overwhelmingly poor, gendered and racialized. As an appeal wends its way through the courts, the film travels to New Zealand and Sweden, two countries that have adopted these models, and uncovers some surprising and unexpected results. Ultimately, the film asks the viewer to decide which vision would lead to a more just society.