FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PEERS VANCOUVER, THE ONLY ORGANIZATION DEDICATED TO HELPING SEX WORKERS

EXIT THE SEX TRADE FORCED TO CLOSE ITS DOORS DUE TO PROVINCIAL EMPLOYMENT

PROGRAM CHANGES IN 2012

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(VANCOUVER) November 14, 2011 – Over the last 10 years, PEERS Vancouver Resource Society has helped hundreds of clients exit the sex trade and transition into healthier and safer lifestyles. Through programming, public education and peer support we have worked tirelessly to facilitate long-term life-changes for women, men, and transgender individuals involved in the sex industry.

Under the provincial government’s new Business Transformation model, our Bridging to Employment program will not be receiving any direct funding from the Ministry of Social Development. As of April 2012, PEERS Vancouver will no longer be able to provide the comprehensive programming that is necessary to ensure our client’s personal and professional success in the mainstream world.

An organization that assists individuals in a survival state cannot operate in a similar state itself. Our successes are due to the relationships of trust we have built with our clientele and with exiting being a process not an event, core funding is mandatory. We have many smaller project funders that enhance our programming by supporting our outreach, public education and prevention efforts but we cannot exist on these alone.

It is hard to ignore the unfortunate irony of the timing of this press release, during the Missing and Murdered Women’s Inquiry and shortly after the City’s release of the report "Preventing Sexual Exploitation and Protecting Vulnerable Adults & Neighbourhoods Affected by Sex Work: A Comprehensive Approach and Action Plan".  The report clearly identifies the need for a coordinated approach that specifies the inclusion of investments in social services and supports, including adequate resources to assist individuals to exit sex work. There was significant press on the report, none of which covered what is being done for sex workers and the solution-based models in place for them such as PEERS.

"It is inspirational working at PEERS Vancouver. Helping sex workers realize that their value does not come in a dollar amount and not only are they able to be productive members of society but they have a right to be is incredibly rewarding." – Ty Mistry, Executive Director

It is undeniable that the closure of PEERS Vancouver will be a tremendous loss for the entire community and will create a serious gap along the continuum of support for individuals involved in the sex industry.

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Contact for PEERS Vancouver

Ty Mistry, Executive Director

Office: 604 681 3017

Cell: 778 838 3017

admin@peersvancouver.org

www.peersvancouver.org

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