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Local Community Groups Form Consortium to Create Services and Support for Those Who Wish To Exit the Sex Industry

Vancouver, BC- In an effort to respond to the existing gaps and effectively meet the needs of  those who do sex work, six community organizations with a vast range of expertise in delivering services to individuals engaged in the sex industry have formed a Consortium to oversee the design, development and implementation of a transition and exiting program. Aboriginal Front Door, Battered Women’s Support Services, HUSTLE, PACE Society, SWAN Vancouver Society and the WISH Drop-In Centre Society each have a variety of expertise in working with different groups and individuals engaged in the sex industry, including self-identified female and male sex workers, survival/street sex workers Indigenous women, Migrant and Immigrant indoor workers, and victims of violence.

“The reasons for sex work entry are vast and varied. Economic necessity is often a primary reason why a significant percentage of people begin sex work.” said Matthew Taylor, Program Manager HUSTLE, Health Initiatives for Men “Other factors include poverty, homelessness, physical and mental health issues, addiction issues, the legacy of colonization, a history of childhood abuse, sexual exploitation, discrimination, lack of education and other barriers. A full range of issues contribute to keeping people in sex work when there are not accessible opportunities open to them.”

Since the closing of PEERS Vancouver in May 2012, there has been a significant gap in services to support the diverse needs of individuals engaged in sex work. Sex work exiting programming was one of the recommendations in Forsaken: The Report of the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry (MWCI).

“Clearly, government, community organizations and residents of Vancouver are acutely aware of this tremendous gap and the need for an effective response.” said Angela Marie MacDougall, Executive Director, Battered Women’s Support Services.

The Consortium has worked within the City of Vancouver’s Task Force on Sex Work and Sexual Exploitation which was formed in September 2011 with the mandate to prevent sexual exploitation and protecting vulnerable adults and neighbourhoods affected by sex work.

“This commitment outlasts the task force,” said Kate Gibson, Executive Director WISH Drop-in Centre Society “And it brings together organizations that already do make a difference in the lives of people and will continue to seek a solution to ensure there are options and opportunities for people to transition out of sex work.”

The Consortium will speak the need for services and supports for those who wish to exit the sex industry during The City of Vancouver’s Standing Committee on City Finance and Services on Wednesday, December 18, 2013.

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For more information:

Kate Gibson

Executive Director, WISH Drop-in Centre

Phone:  604-669-9474

Angela Marie MacDougall

Executive Director, Battered Women’s Support Services

Phone:  604-808-0507

E-mail: [email protected]