Dear Client;“Paying for sexual services does not mean you’ve paid to do whatever you want to a sex worker.”
Sex Industry Workers in Vancouver want to welcome you to our city!! We hope your experience here is a good one and wanted to give some information to ensure you have a safe and respectful visit in Vancouver.
Vancouver’s Sex Industry
Information was written by BCCEC coalition members and gathered from Trade Secrets questionnaires, Chez Stella’s Dear Client Handbook and NakedTruth.ca.
The following information is hoped to ensure you understand what is expected of sex consumers in Canada and to give you information regarding Canadian Law, your health and the safety of sex industry workers.
Exotic Show Lounges
Exotic dancing is legal in Canada and exotic dancers wanted their customers to know the following in regards to respectful behaviour in an Exotic Show Lounge;
- Do not sit in front row and slag the dancer who’s on stage. She can hear you.
- DO NOT TAKE PHOTOS OR VIDEOS OF THE DANCER WITH YOUR CELL PHONE.
- Do not touch the dancers or servers in strip clubs unless expressly given permission by the person being touched.
- Always tip your server and your VIP dancer. For drinks, $1/drink is appropriate. For VIP dancers, $5-$10/dance is appropriate depending on how long the dance lasted.
- Place your tip on the stage rather than in your mouth or by handing it to the dancer. In BC, there are laws against tipping that involves contact.
- Do not stroke yourself, however indiscreetly, during a dancer’s performance.
- Control your alcohol intake. Dancers always respect and appreciate customers who have control over their booze and their hormones. We’re more likely to sit with you, hang out with you, and look forward to seeing you when you’re in control!!
Escorts/ Escort Services
Escorting or “outcall” when a sex worker comes to your home or hotel for the purposes of exchanging sex for money, is legal in Canada.
Massage or Health Enhancement Center workers usually have an “incall” or place where you as a consumer would go and meet a worker.
Most escorts and massage parlour workers meet their client by advertising in local papers and online. Vancouver Sex workers wanted their customers to know the following in regards to respectful behaviour with escorts / massage workers.
On the Street
While prostitution is legal in Canada, many things surrounding it are not. For instance, communication for the purposes of prostitution in a public place is illegal ie- talking to sex workers on the street.
If you do want to access the services of street sex workers, we ask that you read the following and be respectful of sex workers during any interaction with us;
- Each sex worker has a preferred place to go. Let her bring you to her favourite spot where the service will take place.
- Always pay in advance. Respect the fixed prices of the worker, and don’t try to bargain her down to a lower price. Do not discuss prices on the street. On the street, the majority of sex workers charge by the service, not by the hour.
- If the person you have approached on the street for a service does not respond or says “no”, do not insist. Walk away.
- Respect the people that live in the neighbourhood. Do not ask for a service on private property, for example.
- Bring some handi-wipes and a plastic bag for easier cleanup.
- Don’t throw used condoms, their packaging, tissues or other pieces of garbage in the street. Put them into a trash bin at the corner of the street, at the gas station or elsewhere.
The following advice comes from other patrons:
- Don’t be an idiot. Be polite and respectful, as they are someone’s children.
- Tip generously. They do appreciate it.
- Condoms on toys. Seeing the condom package opened to ensure first time use.
Walk away from any dodgy situation.
If you access sexual services that involve contact between you and a sex worker, you must take precautions to prevent STI transmission. STI’s are formerly known as “sexually transmitted diseases” or “STD”’s.
The proper use of condoms is the best way to protect against STI’s. Please take the time to review proper condom use to ensure maximum protection.
The following information comes directly from two sources: Stella’s “Dear Client” handbook, and the BC Centre for Disease Control.
Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is characterized by a set of symptoms provoked by a virus that we call the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which attacks the immune system (the body’s natural defense system).
HIV can be transmitted through blood, sperm, pre-ejaculatory fluid, vaginal secretions, and breast milk. These biological fluids need to be infected by HIV, then enter into contact with an opening on the skin where it can reach a non-infected person’s blood to make transmission possible.
The activities that put a person at risk for HIV are:
– vaginal or anal penetration without a condom;
– sharing dildos or sex toys without using condoms;
– sharing needles or injection materials (syringes, spoons, filters, etc);
– tattooing or body piercing equipment that is not sterilized.
HIV can be present in the body for years before it shows symptoms. These symptoms occur in various and general ways: fever, night sweats, major weight loss, persistent diarrhea, intense and inexplicable fatigue, cough, and skin rashes.
The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
HPV is a widespread viral infection. In Canada, we estimate that between 20 and 40% of the sexually active population carries HPV.
There are different types of HPV. The most frequent is warts—highly contagious genital warts that are transmitted through direct contact.
Warts can also be transmitted by other body parts (fingers, mouth, etc.), or by sex toys that have been in contact with warts. Transmission can also take place through infected genital secretions (pre-ejaculatory liquid, sperm, vaginal secretions), even without penetration.
The shape, size, and colour of warts can vary: they can resemble little cauliflowers, a rooster’s comb, small pimples, or flat lesions, with a head ranging from the size of a hairpin or a nut. They can be pink, red, or the same colour as the skin. Warts can be found at the head of the penis, the shaft of the penis, the testicles, on the inside or the outside of the vagina or anus, in the pubic area, or more rarely in the mouth and on the lips. They can cause an irritating sensation, itching or pain.
If you have symptoms similar to the ones listed here, it is essential that you see a doctor.
There are two different types of herpes that affect the mouth and the lips (cold sores); and the penis, the vagina, and the anus (genital herpes). Herpes creates lesions, small ulcers or sensitive wounds that are painful to the touch. The herpes virus is sexually transmitted through direct contact with a lesion through oral, vaginal, or anal sex. For example, during oral sex, a cold sore on the mouth can transmit the herpes virus to the penis. The reverse is also true: herpes on the penis can transmit to the lips of a person who is giving fellatio.
Herpes can also be transmitted if your fingers or hands have been in touch with a lesion and they then touch your partner’s genitals, anus, or mouth. Even if there are no lesions, the risk still exists, because the herpes virus remains in the body for life. There are medications to reduce the intensity and time duration of symptoms of herpes, but they do not eliminate the virus in the body. It is essential to see a doctor if you have any of the herpes symptoms mentioned above.
Hepatitis A and B
Hepatitis is a disease of the liver. Symptoms include yellow-coloured eyes and skin, diarrhea and dark urine, stomachaches, appetite loss, and headaches.
The Hepatitis A virus can be found in feces and can be transmitted through sex that involves licking the anus, penis, or a toy that has been in contact with the anus.
Hepatitis B is transmitted through sperm and vaginal secretions. Sexual activities that are most likely to transmit Hepatitis B are the same as the ones that transmit HIV: vaginal or anal penetration without a condom and sharing dildos or sex toys. Hepatitis B is also transmitted through blood and saliva by sharing syringes, razors, toothbrushes, non-sterilized needles for tattooing and body piercing, etc.
Hepatitis A and B Vaccinations
Hepatitis A: 2 vaccines, 6 months apart will make you immune. STI clinics offer this free for men who have sex with men, otherwise buy it at the travel clinic.
Hepatitis B: 3 vaccines at 0, 1 month, 6 months. People born after 1980 probably got this in Grade 6 or as babies. Other people can get it at STI clinics or travel clinic.
Hepatitis C Virus (HCV)
HCV is a virus that attacks the liver, causing inflammation of the liver. Because the liver performs many important body functions, this can have a large effect on health and quality of life. HCV is passed by blood-to-blood contact, like sharing needles, tattoo equipment, razors or toothbrushes.
HCV is quite a hardy virus and can live outside the body (on a needle, razor, etc) for days. HCV is very common in injection drug users. There has been some sexual transmission of HCV, especially if sex involves blood (sex during menstrual period, rough sex, fisting).
People with HCV should use condoms. There has recently been a rise in HIV positive men who have sex with men getting HCV from rough sex or group sex.
Twenty-five percent of people who get HCV get rid of the virus on their own. There is a test to find out if this is what happened to your HCV. People with HCV should avoid alcohol, eat a balanced diet, and have regular monitoring with a doctor.
Because a lot of people don’t show symptoms and do not know that they are infected, it is recommended that you take regular tests for gonorrhea and chlamydia. To take a test, consult your doctor. Do not forget to ask for a test in your throat and anus. These tests (specifically the tests in the urethra, the path from which both men urinate and ejaculate, and in anus test) can be unpleasant and uncomfortable. Left untreated, these infections can cause a lot of complications and infertility. Once discovered, they are easily treatable with antibiotics.
Risks of Bareback Blow Jobs and Deep French-kissing
BBBJ: Syphilis, herpes, gonorrhea, low but possible risk for HIV (especially if you have sores in the mouth, recent toothbrushing or flossing.)
Deep French-kissing: Herpes, Possible risk for syphilis.
Risks of Analingus and/or Anal Sex
Person performing analingus can get Hepatitis A, or pick up bacteria that cause gastro-intestinal problems. Herpes and syphilis can also be transmitted to either partner this way. Use a barrier and wash well.
Anal sex is a risk for HIV, Herpes, Syphilis, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, HPV, and Hepatitis B. The person receiving (the bottom) in anal sex is at more risk for HIV. Use condoms.
Infections and How They’re Spread
Genital skin-to-skin contact: Herpes, HPV (the virus that can cause genital warts, or lead to cervical cancer), syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia
Any body part skin-to-skin: Staph, crabs, scabies
Saliva: Not many STI’s are spread by saliva. There is a very low risk of passing Hep B through saliva. It is a good idea for all sex workers to get vaccinated for Hep B. It also is possible that Herpes may be transmitted by saliva. Meningitis and Mono can be passed this way, as well as the common cold, flu, and strep-throat.
Semen and vaginal fluid: HIV, Hep B
Blood: HIV, Hepatitis B and C
Airborne: Tuberculosis, colds and flu.
This infection is transmitted through oral, vaginal and anal sex. Transmission of syphilis through oral sex is much more common than with HIV. Syphilis has various symptoms throughout its stages of development. These symptoms can easily go unnoticed. In the first stage, syphilis causes a painless ulcer that, for men, can be found on the head of the penis, on the shaft of the penis, the base of the penis, or the pubic area. Indeed, it can be found anywhere on the body of a man or a woman: anus, rectum, lips, vulva, vagina, tongue, tonsils or throat.
The symptoms go away on their own after a few weeks, even without treatment, but the infection continues to progress and the individual is still contagious. Undiagnosed and untreated, syphilis continues to evolve and can create severe complications that can result in infertility, dementia, and cardiac problems. Only a blood test can determine the presence of syphilis. Speak with your doctor. Syphilis is easily treated with antibiotics.
Gonorrhea and Chlamydia
These STIs have the same method of transmission and present the same symptoms. Gonorrhea and chlamydia can be transmitted through oral sex or during vaginal and anal penetration. Gonorrhea is frequently transmitted through oral sex. Chlamydia does not have symptoms in 70% of infected people (7 out of 10 infected people).
Gonorrhea shows more symptoms in people (9 out of 10 infected people), but often it does not show symptoms if it is in the throat or the anus. When they do appear, the major symptoms are:
– green or yellowish discharge from the penis, usually accompanied by pain;
– burning sensation while urinating;
– pain around the testicles or swelling of the testicles.
is as diverse as the city itself. Sex Industry workers come from many different cultural backgrounds, is gender diverse including male, female and trans individuals and is genre diverse including exotic dancers and show lounges, the adult film industry, escorts and escort services, massage parlours and massage service as well as a large industry catering to the fetish community.
For more information on STI’s and HIV, condoms or HIV testing sites at the 2010 games, please visit the Safe Games 2010 website at;
What if you witness Human Trafficking?
Vancouver Sex Industry Liaison Officer
Office to Combat Trafficking in Persons
For more information on health and safety in the sex industry please visit;
How do I recognize human trafficking?
- The sex worker may seem reluctant or unwilling, under duress
- The sex worker may speak very little or no English
- The sex industry business is not located in a legitimate commercial property
- The work space is dirty or un kept
- The sex worker has multiple bruises on their body
- It seems the sex workers are living in the work space and a person seems to be guarding them or collects the money on their behalf.
We all have a responsibility to try to combat human trafficking in the sex industry. Unless we can identify and prosecute exploiters, we will never see safety in the sex industry.
Robin Pike, Executive Director
Lynda Malcolm- cell 604-516-9854.
If you witness working conditions in which you think a sex worker may the victim of human trafficking, PLEASE REPORT IT!! Most Vancouver Sex Industry workers are working by their own choice but want you to know we do not support the exploitation of youth or any person.
You can report it confidentially through;