Opening the Doors- Short version 2011

Opening the Doors Report- Short 2011[1]Opening the Doors- Final Report
BC Coalition of Experiential Communities 2011

Project Background and Rationale

During the .Developing Capacity for Change Project.-coop development work shops, workers expressed how a trade association and a branding or certification process could support safer work conditions over all and stabilize the existing safer indoor venues that exist now. The development of occupational health and safety training was also seen as a way to give people entering and in the sex industry the tools to make safe decisions about their work. It was agreed that all stake holders including business owners and consumers should be engaged to contribute to the design of the future of our industry.

Currently a charter challenge is underway to bring down the laws governing sex work. This action will only be successful if as an industry we can prove adult consensual sex industry workers are making an informed decision, have access to resources, are of legal age to engage in the sex industry and that ethical sex industry business owners do exist. In the next 10 years we must agree to respect each other and treat each other with dignity. This will be an enormous task but an absolutely necessary one none the less. If we cannot demonstrate the ways in which we have traditionally maintained the stability of our industry, the system at large will most likely impose whatever laws it sees fit and we as an industry will be faced with another disaster.

With this in mind, the BCCEW/C set out to engage sex industry workers in beginning the process and determining whether or not there is industry support for such an action and what the structure of such an organization might look like.

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Leading the Way

leading_the_way.pdf

Strategic Planning Toward Sex Worker Cooperative Development

This project is based on our findings from our previous project Developing Capacity for Change in which we collaborated with 20 sex workers involved in on and off street sex work.

We captured their experiences within existing off-street venues and found that in no circumstances were the workers themselves involved in management, operations or marketing. Additionally, there was little if any orientation to the work or environment. This includes no support for acquisition of health and safety skills or de-escalation to minimize situational violence.

Further, workers had experienced extortion and were subject to an arbitrary system of fines as well as violations of labor standards and human rights.

Sex workers have made the distinction between voluntary ‘sex work’ and other working conditions where labor is forced or extracted from individuals.

Sex workers would like the opportunity to collectively manage their own work spaces and collaborate on all aspects of their business including price-setting, marketing and access to the benefits of employment i.e. group medical benefits, thus legitimizing sex work as work.

The prohibition of sex work as work keeps the industry underground; creates conditions of violence and extortion; causes survival sex, forced involvement and the exploitation of youth in addition to social isolation and predation.

HUSTLE: Men on the Move

Friends,

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to HUSTLE: Men on the Move. We are an outreach and support program which effectively offers a male/youth specific component to PEERS Vancouver. HUSTLE is designed and implemented by experiential men who see a need for an increase in specific front-line programming / support services for survival male/Trans sex workers. Attention is also given to identifying and supporting street involved youth who may be at risk of exploitation in Vancouver Communities.

We provide traditional on-street outreach in the form of Harm Reduction/Safer Sex materials, Nutrition and Hygiene items as well as a Safe Needle Exchange. A major component of this program is one on one peer and crisis support in the moment. By providing consistent, non-judgmental services, over time, we continue to nurture a sense of community, thus increasing the overall health and safety of male sex workers and youth that may be exploited on the streets of Vancouver.

Our outreach services and program delivery are currently offered late night weekends as well as weekly visits to various drop-ins and resource centers. We have been successful at engaging youth by meeting them where they are at as well as supporting the population of male sex workers in the natural networks and venues that they access and frequent, such as stroll/track, internet cafes, and existing community organizations. By showing consistency in our services, HUSTLE has built relationships that foster trust and respect. Simply put, the more time we spend together, the less time we are alone.

Recently, we have expanded our programming with the new HUSTLE ‘N’ FLOW support groups for survival male sex workers and those who identify as male. These groups are currently offered every Wednesday of the month and provide men a safe and comfortable atmosphere to share their experiences, challenges and resilience with their peers. It is our hope that we can continue to help empower male sex workers through group support, thus creating a sense of community and increasing their overall health and safety.

We are hoping to provide the most effective services possible and, therefore, are looking for any ideas or suggestions you may have, on how we might better integrate with existing community resources and organizations. To contact us further and learn more about HUSTLE, please visit us at www.peersvancouver.org.

Peace

Matthew Taylor

Program Director

HUSTLE: Men on the Move

Outreach and Support Services

Outreach

778.868.1776

Office 604.684.3032

Hustlemotm@hotmail.com

hustle_brochure_final

project_overview