As an active sex worker of 28 years with experience in both off street and on street sex work, I have a unique perspective on these issues. My work over the last 10 almost 11 years with City Staff, VPD, Vancouver Coastal Health, Victim’s Services, Ministry of Child and Family Development in advocating for the improved rights and safety of Vancouver sex workers has given me experience in working within mainstream systems towards changes that meet the expectations of all sex industry stakeholders.
I also have experience working with business improvement associations, residents groups and community organizations and the concerns they have regarding safety of communities as it relates to sex work.
Grade 12- completed 1986- Dartmouth High School, Dartmouth Nova Scotia
Royal Conservatory of Music- completed 1984- Grade 9 piano- Dartmouth Nova Scotia
Trade School- completed 1988- Academy of Cosmetology, Dartmouth Nova Scotia- Hair dressing
Policy Development Work Shops- completed 2003-2005- P.A.C.E. Society- Vancouver British Columbia
Work Experience- Contract Work
1984-1988 – Chamber maid, piano teacher, red cross life guard, hair dresser, roofing houses, painting houses, yard work, baby sitter, camp counselor, catering, hot dog cart, preparing geological samples, ride operator at the exhibition, pawn shop counter clerk.
1986- present – actively working in the sex industry as an independent escort but with experience in many areas of the industry and as many sex industry workers do, has migrated across the industry and this country with the availability of work; has worked in micro brothels, businesses run from a residential space, escort agencies, massage parlors, adult film and on the street in Halifax, Moncton, Montreal, Toronto, Surrey, New Westminster, Burnaby, and Vancouver.
2004- Project coordinator- “Media Research Report- a broad perspective on the portrayal of sex workers in the media”- BC Coalition of Experiential Women.
2005-2006 – Media Spokesperson – P.A.C.E. Society Vancouver BC.
2003-2005- Policy development team- P.A.C.E. Society Vancouver BC-creating society policy manuals, employee manuals, volunteers manuals, community organization guidelines for engaging researchers and information for sex workers wishing to take part in research.
2005- Development team member/ author- “History of Sex Work Vancouver”- Simon Fraser University
2006- Data collection – “…From the Curb- sex workers perspectives in Violence and Domestic Trafficking in the BC/Yukon Region” – BC Coalition of Experiential Women report
2006- 2009 – trainer- Canadian School of Public Service Phase Three learning tour.
2006- present -cooperative development coordinator- West Coast Cooperative of Sex Industry Professionals- Canada’s first sex worker cooperative.
* 2006-“Developing Capacity for Change”- cooperative development workshops report- author
* 2007-“Leading the Way”- cooperative strategic planning workshops report- author
* 2008-“ Building Choices for the Future”- cooperative consulting enterprise development workshops- coordinator, presentation and resource package author.
2006- Data collection- “Confronting Bad Dates- bad date reporting strategies” project. BC Coalition of Experiential Communities
2007- Project coordinator- “Labor on the Margins- Sex Industry Safety and Stability” BC Coalition of Experiential Communities
2007- Resource development team- “411- Supports, Services and Information for Sex Industry Workers who are Victims of Crime”- BC Coalition of Experiential Communities
2007- Development team/assistant coordinator- “Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Workshops/ Community Consultations and report”- BC Coalition of Experiential Communities
2007- Project coordinator/ report author- “Cease and Desist- Response to City of Vancouver By-Law Review”- BC Coalition of Experiential Communities
2008- Data collection/ development team member- “Trade Secrets- Sex Industry Occupational Health and Safety Guide” BC Coalition of Experiential Communities
2009- Development coordinator/author- “Canadian Adult Entertainment Commission- Draft Terms of Reference”- vision, goals and rules for Canadian sex industry association organizing.
2010- Report author/ development team member- “Opening the Doors- Building Transparency and Accountability in the Sex Industry” BC Coalition of Experiential Communities
2011- Report author/development team member- “Proposed City of Vancouver By-law Revisions 2011” BC Coalition of Experiential Communities
2011- Report author/ development team member-“ Opening the Doors- Revised Strategies Draft”- to create greater occupational health and safety in the sex industry. BC Coalition of Experiential Communities.
Volunteer Work, Committees
2003-2005-P.A.C.E. Society Board Member and Chair of the Board
2003 – present- Member of the BC Coalition of Experiential Communities. The BCCEC was formed out of two regional meetings of women in and from the sex industry in 2002 and 2003. Renamed the BC Coalition of Experiential Communities (BCCEC), members include men and women from across the province who have over 30 years combined experience in advocacy, research, service delivery and management, and well over 50 years experience in all facets of the sex industry. Members have founded, operated or significantly contributed to eight sex worker organizations including the BC Coalition of Experiential Men. The B.C. Coalition of Experiential Communities works to inspire experiential leadership toward the elimination of oppressive systems and forces that create harm within the sex industry.
2005 – 2011 – Member of Living in Community Steering Committee, a city wide collaboration between residents, business improvement associations, police, city staff, sex worker support services and sex workers. Also, was a member of the communications subcommittee for part of this time.
2006 – present- member of 4 on-line communities for sex industry stakeholders; where sex workers gather alone as well as with clients on-line. This work includes;
* moderation of private worker only spaces,
* mediating personal conflicts between individual workers or sex industry businesses.
* supporting workers in reporting violence should they wish to,
* alerting police of youth and other workers at risk,
* reporting violent clients and pimps on behalf of workers who wish to remain anonymous,
* supporting workers during their recovery from violent crimes,
* monitoring “review boards” for malicious reviews and holding “fake reviewers” or those who use “reviews” to extort workers in anyway accountable through advocating for the workers who are targeted by such actions
* supporting and advocating for workers during engagement with the Ministry of Child and Family Development,
* supporting and advocating for workers in civil and criminal court,
* supporting and advocating for sex industry business owners engaged with City of Vancouver Licensing
* educating and building trust with sex buyers to increase reporting of exploitative sex work environments and youth at risk
* educating and building trust with sex industry business owners to increase reporting of exploitation of youth or any person in the sex industry,
* actively seeking sex industry community input on issues related to sex work
* posting project reports and proposed actions to allow community input
2007 – 2011 – Member of the City of Vancouver’s Four Pillars Coalition
2007- Member of the Vancouver Police Chief Constable’s Diversity Advisory Committee (DAC)
2008 – present- Member of the West Coast Cooperative of Sex Industry Professionals; a cohort of sex industry community members who work: To create labor standards to improve the occupational health, safety and capacities of sex industry professionals as employees and contractors within a legitimized profession, To empower and unify sex working communities inclusive of diversities to increase the economic security of adult sex industry workers, To provide worker-specific training/ education/empowerment/ capacity building, ownership of skills and leadership in developing policies within the sex industry.
2008 – 2011 – Member of the Sex Industry Worker Safety Action Group(SIWSAG), a collaborative action group connecting Vancouver Police, Sex Industry Workers and Community Organizations to address the safety concerns of sex workers.
I have lectured at many local colleges and universities including;
* University of British Columbia,
* Simon Fraser University,
* Fraser Valley University
I delivered training to over 200 new recruits for the VPD, federal employees in middle and upper management for the Department of National Defense, Revenue Canada, immigration and border services and the RCMP.
I have taken part in and presented to Women’s Health Research Conferences and Meetings.
I testified to the parliamentary subcommittee on prostitution in 2006 and gave testimony and evidence in both the Ontario and British Columbia Supreme Court charter rights challenge.
I worked with the Missing Women’s Commission delivering the collective voices of sex workers through 10 years of community based research to inform them on other areas of the Criminal Justice System such as Victim’s Services which should be held accountable and best practices emerging in this regard and critical to informing the findings of the commission. I also gave evidence of a personal nature to the commission.
I was invited to join the advisory committee overseeing the implementation of the recommendations of the Missing Women’s Commission of Inquiry Report, “Forsaken” chaired by Steven LaPoint.
I have been in the media advocating for sex workers rights over 400 times including appearing in “Herizons”, “ELLE” and “Chatelaine” magazines and once even on the BBC World news.
I have met with politicians from across the lower mainland from all 3 levels of government including the Governor General of Canada and delivered presentations to the BC Federation of Labor, BC Government Employees Union, Canadian Public Service Employees Alliance, the federal liberal women’s committee, the provincial NDP women’s committee, representatives from 200 victims services organization from across British Columbia and even have traveled throughout the region consulting with sex workers and sharing our ideas with communities struggling with these difficult issues and the failings of the approaches employed in the past.