Making SPACES: Advancing Recommendations for the Off-Street Sex Industry in Vancouver

On behalf of SPACES staff and Principle Investigator, Dr. Vicky Bungay,  I would like to thank the project advisers, participants, co-investigators, sex industry professionals, educators, community organization reps, public figures and all stakeholders for attending the Making SPACES event held at the Vancouver Public Library on September 11th, 2015.  

We had a very lively discussion about the topics that matter to off-street sex working professionals and their clients, as well as those who work to promote sex industry inclusion and leadership in all things related to health, safely, law and policy.  

As promised, Vicky and members of her staff will be working diligently to complete the final version of the Making SPACES document by the end of 2015, that incorporates your insights and recommendations for future strategies and interventions. Keep an eye out for media announcing the report. In the meantime, please view the Discussion Document.

I will be leaving my role as Manager of the SPACES Project on September 18th 2015 to undertake a PhD program at Durham University in the UK. Interacting with project participants, community members, staff at UBC and other 'change-makers' has been a very enriching experience. I am honored to have had to opportunity to be influenced and transformed by all of you.  

Be Well,

Raven R. Bowen

 

- Photos courtesy of Esther Shannon.

Red Everywhere!

It was a great turn out for Vancouver's 3rd Annual Sex Worker's Solidarity March that took place Saturday June 13th. The event was organized by Triple-X Worker's Solidarity Association of BC. For the first time sex workers and allies took the corner of Hastings and Main for a few moments while a young Indigenous woman lead us in the Women's Warrior Song. See the short clip below.

We would like to acknowledge all those around the world who take to the streets, the boardrooms, the classrooms and other spaces to advance issues of rights, health and safety by, for and with sex workers.

Participants take the Main and Hastings Intersection    Photo by Esther Shannon emls@shaw.ca

Participants take the Main and Hastings Intersection    Photo by Esther Shannon emls@shaw.ca

18 Seconds of Solidarity!!!


3rd Annual Red Umbrella March for Sex Worker Solidarity June 13th 2015

This year's Red Umbrella March is upon us. Please join active and former sex workers, stakeholders and allies this Saturday June 13th at 2:30 pm at the Vancouver Library.  The event will begin with guest speakers on the steps of the Art Gallery (South Plaza, Robson street at Horby) and at 3 pm we will march through the DTES to CRAB park. 

Please wear red and bring your red umbrellas. All are invited to dress up in costumes. This year Vancouver joins Marches and events happening at the same time in Quebec, Toronto, Victoria, Saint John's and Winnipeg. 

The Red Umbrella March for Sex Workers Solidarity is organized by: Triple-X Workers' Solidarity Association of B.C., Pivot Legal Society, Downtown Eastside Sex Workers United Against Violence, PACE Society, The B.C. Coalition of Experiential Communities and FIRST: Feminists for Decriminalization of Sex Work.

For more information visit the Triple-X site    

 

Today We Stood Together for Cindy Gladue

Cindy Gladue was an Aboriginal women, a mother and a daughter who was murdered in the most brutal way in Edmonton in 2011. Cindy engaged in sex work or survival as a way to earn money. Whether we advocate for labour and human rights for sex workers or view the industry as violence against women, today many stood together for Cindy and against the criminal legal system that acquitted her murderer on the belief that an intoxicated women could consent to the violence that led to her death.  

For more information about the ways in which Aboriginal scholars are speaking to this issue please read Sarah Hunt and Naomi Sayers' article published in the Globe and Mail last week. 

A staff member (representing herself) joined the Women's Memorial March Committee and local groups and activists today outside of our Supreme court building. We honor the groups around the country who took to the streets today, who stood up and demanded that violence against Indigenous women, against women sex workers, against ALL women not be allowed to continue with impunity. View the joint press release at the Women's Memorial March Website.  

 

20150402_110842.jpg

Prosecuting Sex Workers, Buyers and Third Parties is Not in the Public Interest, Says Vancouver Sex Workers, Activists, Academics and Allies

Today, December 17th, the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, is a time when sex workers and allies around the world mourn members of the sex industry who have been killed by state and predatory violence.
A letter by Vancouver groups was delivered today to the Attorney General Suzanne Anton urging her to prioritize the health, safety and rights of sex workers by creating guidelines for the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act (PCEPA) clearly stating that prosecuting Sex Workers, Buyers and Third Parties is Not in the Public Interest.
-For details visit Pivot Legal Society

Tonight, Vancouver Sex Workers and allies will gather at 5:30pm at the Main Branch of the Vancouver Public Library (350 West Georgia).

Then at 730pm at Pivot Legal Society (121 Heatley) for food, drinks and entertainment.

In Solidarity,
The SPACES Team

Project Update

We would like to thank all of our project advisers, participants, partners and Co-Investigators for your contributions to the project thus far. We expect to be finished coding interviews by the end of the year and begin our preliminary analysis in January. We plan to have our first project report available in the spring.

Here are some of this year’s highlights:

-Secured an Advisory Committee of eight sex workers and service providers

-Spent 91 days in the field promoting SPACES and doing interviews

-Interviewed 116 buyers, third party managers, facilitators and service providers

-Hired experiential professionals to take on one-time and intermittent roles within the project

-Partnered with 9 sex workers organizations and venues for data collection and future Knowledge Translation activities

-Hired 4 Research Assistants

UPDATE ON BILL C-36, as of Thursday, October 30, 2014.

This information was obtained from a reliable source:

On Wednesday, October 29 and Thursday, October 30, 2014, the Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs had their last reading of Bill C-36.  On Thursday afternoon the committee went through a clause-by-clause reading of the Bill.

This is what the Senate’s Legal and Constitutional Affairs decided:

1. The Bill will go back to the entire Senate without amendment and for 3rd reading.  This will happen on Tuesday, November 4, 2014.

2. At 3rd reading, Senators have the chance to speak and to propose amendments to the Bill. There is no way of knowing how long this stage of debate will take or if amendments will be proposed.  If amendments are proposed, we don’t know how the vote will go.

3. If the Bill is amended at 3rd reading by the Senate it will go back to the House of Commons for their concurrence.  This only happens to about 12% of bills.  For example, between April 2003 and March 2009, the Senate only recommended amendments to 37 of 300 bills that made it to committee stage.  Even then, Parliament can refuse the Senate’s amendment.  http://www.parl.gc.ca/About/Senate/Today/laws-e.html#rejeter

4. Once the bill has been adopted in an identical form by both the House and the Senate, the final stage is Royal Assent.  We don’t  know the exact date that this will happen.

5. There is a clause in the Bill’s most recent version, that says that certain provisions of the Bill will take force and effect on the date of Royal Assent.

UPDATE ON BILL C-36, as of Thursday, October 30, 2014.

This information was obtained from a reliable source:

On Wednesday, October 29 and Thursday, October 30, 2014, the Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs had their last reading of Bill C-36.  On Thursday afternoon the committee went through a clause-by-clause reading of the Bill.

This is what the Senate’s Legal and Constitutional Affairs decided:

RIP Jim Deva

On behalf of SPACES project staff, we would like to extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Jim Deva. One of our project advisers worked for Jim and he co-sponsored one of FIRST’s ‘Conversations with sex workers’ events with SPACES on September 10th at Little Sisters’ Bookstore.  Fortunately, we audio-taped this session and Jim spoke for about 8 minutes about his history of activism, his views on sex and society and he shared inspirational messages encouraging a continued fight against injustices for sex workers.

Project staff had the pleasure of attending Jim’s memorial with others who have been forever changed through knowing him. RIP Jim Deva.

Senate Committee Hearings

As many of you may know, Bill C-36 is now with the Senate and they are hearing from witnesses as to the constitutionality of the Bill, as well as issues and concerns before it receives Royal Assent.

For those of you who are interested, click HERE to access the Senate list of witnesses and the video on the proceedings from earlier today and yesterday.  You may use this link to live stream the proceedings  tomorrow which is the last day of hearings.

 

UPDATE: Oct 3rd. Please click HERE to view past sessions with the Senate. You will have to scroll down to find Bill C-36

Community Conversations with Sex Workers Continues

Tonight’s Conversations Event will take place from 6 to 8pm at Little Sister’s Book & Art Emporium For details view the FIRST Facebook page link:

Community Conversations with Sex Workers #3 // Burlesque by Lola Frost

Tonight’s Agenda

FIRST Presents: Community Conversations with Sex Workers

This Thursday July 24th at 6pm FIRST, a feminist advocacy group, is hosting the first of 5 community cafe conversations with active sex workers at the Heartwood Community Cafe. This is an opportunity for the public to ask sex workers anything the ever wanted to know about the business and the context of the work in light of the legislative environment.  Details about the event are available on the FIRST event page.

SPACES has partnered with Sweet Adult Boutique and Velvet Steele to co-sponsor the door prizes. Hope to see many of you at the event.  There will be 4 other events at various locations in Vancouver.  Follow FIRST for announcements.

Sad News

A sex worker who was instrumental in coordinating interviews for the SPACES project passed away this weekend.  I cannot name her here but would just like to  acknowledge her contribution to the sex worker rights movement. She was a tough cookie and a stabilizing force in the lives of those she spent time with.  She passed over to the sounds of drumming and the womens’ warrior song.

Her passing reminds us that we lose a lot of warriors along the path to social inclusion, rights and justice for sex workers. For many, the change does not come fast enough.

The City of Vancouver’s Action Plan for Sex Worker Health and Safety

Here is the link to the City of Vancouver’s Action Plan to improve the health and safety of sex workers. Documents include their responses to Bill C-36, the Bedford Decision and the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry.

They identify among their priority issues: to align bylaws to improve the health and safety of sex workers, expanded shelter options and increased support to sex workers, including transition support.

New Sex Work Bill C-36 Explained

Many of you may have questions about the Bill C-36 that was tabled yesterday and how this will affect sex work and sex worker rights, health and safety.

Please see the Pivot Legal society site for an explanation of the main provisions of B-36. And view Katina Pacey’s interview with the CBC.