Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Making Headlines: The Politics of Sex Trafficking and Sex Work During the 2010 Vancouver Olympics

Renee Mahoney, The University of Western Ontario


This project is a comprehensive study of the press coverage of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, hosted by the City of Vancouver. Specifically, this project focuses on the influence of advocacy groups and the media on the lives of sex workers active in Vancouver’s notorious Downtown Eastside (DTES). Prior to hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics, advocacy groups framed the Olympics as an event that would have a dramatic effect on the lives of sex workers operating in the DTES. Specifically, Trisha Baptie, the Future Group, and the Salvation Army suggested through the media that the Olympics would attract sex traffickers, exploit sex workers, and create an uncontrollable situation for sex workers in the DTES. It is argued that these groups utilized the media power of the 2010 Olympics in order to promote the criminalization of prostitution in Canada. Using content analysis as the method of research, this project analyzes Canadian print media, and the media’s focus on sex trafficking and prostitution as a result of the 2010 Olympic Games.