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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.

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