Labour Studies (LBST) 415

Sex Work and Sex Workers (Revision 1)

LBST 415

Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Social Sciences

Prerequisite: None. Prior course work in labour studies or women and gender studies is recommended.

Precluded Course: None

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Labour Studies home page

LBST 415 has a Challenge for credit option.

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LBST 415: Sex Work and Sex Workers is a three-credit, senior-level course that introduces you to sex work in Canada. This course offers an overview of the sex industry in a variety of theoretical and material contexts, as well as an in-depth focus on sex work in the Canadian context.

This course examines conflicting views about sex work and sex workers, and how those views play out in legislative approaches and how those approaches impact sex workers. In addition to reading key texts by scholarly experts on the sex industry, we will hear from sex workers themselves about their jobs, experiences, and policy recommendations.

Learning Outcomes

After completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Explain the functioning of the modern sex industry (including its scope, history, and dynamics) from a labour-relations perspective.
  • Articulate the main legislative approaches to the regulations of sex work, including the purposes, strengths, and weaknesses of each approach.
  • Identify how intersectionality affects sex work and sex-work policy.
  • Analyze sex workers’ labour conditions in order to recommend policy changes that will improve safety, income, and stability.


  • Unit 1: Introduction
  • Unit 2: Sex, Work, and Sex Work
  • Unit 3: Critical Discourses on Sexuality and Labour
  • Unit 4: Sex Work and the Law
  • Unit 5: Indigenous Experiences of Sex Work
  • Unit 6: International Migration and Sex Tourism
  • Unit 7: Other Actors in the Sex Industry


To receive credit for LBST 415, you must achieve a minimum grade of D (50 percent) or better on the final examination and an overall grade of at least D (50 percent) on the entire course.

Activity Weighting
Assignment 1: Telephone Quiz 10%
Assignment 2: Short Essay 20%
Assignment 3: Term Paper Outline 10%
Assignment 4: Term Paper 40%
Final Examination 20%
Total 100%

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


LBST 415 requires the use of two textbooks. Students will receive a copy of:

Mac, J., & Smith, M. (2018). Revolting prostitutes: The fight for sex workers’ rights. Brooklyn, NY: Verso.

Durisin, E., van der Meulen, E., & Bruckert, C. (Eds.). (2018). Red light labour: Sex work regulations, agency, and resistance. Vancouver: UBC Press.

Other Materials

In addition to the textbooks, you will read a variety of reports, articles, and book chapters. Directions for securing these additional online readings are included in the course.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the LBST 415 challenge registration, you must achieve a grade of at least D (50 percent) on the examination.

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 1, Nov 13, 2019.