FNSA Indigenous Feminism Series- Dr. Sarah Hunt; Sex Work and Self-determination

  • Simon Fraser University (SFU) at Harbour Centre 515 West Hastings st. Coast Salish Territories

As an ally to sex workers, Sarah seeks to strengthen relationships between Indigenous sex workers and other members of Indigenous communities in order to confront the stigma and criminalization which contributes to increased violence. Her decolonial approach to sex work is founded on the understanding that Canadian law has been, and continues to be, a tool of colonial violence which has an inherently limited ability to address violence against sex workers. Rather than looking to the power of Canadian law, Dr. Hunt advocates looking to the principles of Indigenous legal orders which emphasize relationships of reciprocal responsibility, freedom of mobility, agency and voice, with the voices and needs of sex workers themselves at the center of any efforts to increase their safety and self-determination.

Sarah Hunt (PhD) is a recent graduate of the Department of Geography at SFU, where her SSHRC-funded research investigated issues of law and violence in colonial relations in BC. Sarah is of mixed Kwagiulth (Kwakwaka’wakw), Ukrainian and English ancestry, and has worked for nearly 15 years as a community-based researcher, program coordinator, and educator focused on building the capacity of Indigenous communities to address issues related to violence. Sarah has authored and co-authored numerous major reports and articles on sex work, youth sexual exploitation and human trafficking, including “Colonial Roots, Contemporary Risk Factors: a cautionary exploration of the domestic trafficking of Aboriginal women and girls in British Columbia, Canada” published in Alliance News (GAATW: Bangkok) in July 2010, and "Decolonizing Sex Work: developing an intersectional Indigenous approach" in the 2013 anthology Selling Sex: experience, advocacy and research on sex work in Canada (Eds. van der Meulen, Durisin and Love). She also occasionally writes for becomingcollective.wordpress.com, mediaindigena.com, and nationsrising.org/blog and has had several articles republished on rabble.ca.