A new look at the world's oldest profession
Philosophy & Public Policy and Administration (MPPA) master's alumna
As executive vice-chair of Maggie’s Toronto Sex Workers’ Action Project, Jenny Duffy is advocating for the decriminalization of sex work to support the safety and dignity of this marginalized community.
Why should sex work be decriminalized?
Decriminalization is crucial for protecting the well-being, health and safety of sex workers. The criminalization of sex work, whether it’s clients or workers who are criminalized, puts sex workers at increased danger. Sex workers are forced to compromise their safety in order to abide by the law, and to accommodate clients who are fearful of being arrested. Criminalization inhibits workers’ access to public services, excludes them from labour and employment law protections, and perpetuates harmful stigma about an already marginalized group of people.
What is your goal at Maggie’s?
Maggie’s is a sex worker-run organization that promotes the safety and dignity of sex-working populations. We strive to create a community for a stigmatized population who are challenged by working in a criminalized industry. We engage in public advocacy work, offer harm-reduction supplies, peer outreach services, legal workshops and drop-in services.
How was your Ryerson graduate education experience?
Because Ryerson is such an accepting, thoughtful and diverse community, my research on sex work was encouraged and supported all the way through. My Philosophy supervisor Dr. Alex Wellington was extremely helpful and inspired me to pursue policy work.
How did your Ryerson graduate degrees prepare you for your career?
The skills I learned from the MPPA were directly transferable to my current role as a program analyst. My Philosophy MA complemented my MPPA by enabling me to challenge assumptions and consider problems from multiple angles.
Photo: Narrative Drive