Are you the Victim of a crime?
If you are a sex industry worker and have been the victim of a crime,
YOU DO QUALIFY FOR SUPPORT and YOU DO HAVE RIGHTS!
No matter what you are told to the contrary, help is available through VictimLINK and the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General. Sex industry workers may feel frustrated when dealing with the criminal justice system after being a victim of crime. As sex industry workers we often experience added trauma as we are judged or devalued because of our occupation and the prejudices of others during the process. Lack of education and understanding has made it difficult for sex industry workers to access Victim Services and the supports that are available for ALL victims of crime.
The BC Government has programs created specifically for victims and this document has been created to support you in accessing these programs. However, you should be prepared for delays as some barriers still exist. The following information should assist you on your journey.
Remember that you are strong, you are powerful and resourceful. No one and nothing can ever take that from you.
NEED TO MOVE? Safety Planning can make it easier!
Are you experiencing domestic violence? Or another form of exploitation or violence and need to move safely? If you are unsure how to plan your move or would like some ideas on things to consider, the “Safety Planning Tool” can provide guidance as a template.
Collaborative Safety Planning Tool
This tool was created for use by Support Agencies when working with sex workers. If you are on your own or do not wish to connect with support organizations, you can use the template to think about your plan for leaving. It discusses how to make sure you can leave safely and not further jeopardize yourself. Things like where to go, do people know you are a sex worker, who can you trust…. It’s way to help you outline a plan which covers all your bases.
If you have any questions, feel unsafe while planning or need to be referred to support services for safety planning help, please feel free to contact us and we will do whatever we can to help!
Are you experiencing Harassment?
We are currently working to address issues of harassment in our industry, If you are experiencing harassment or cyber bullying and are not sure what to do, please reach out to us and we will share some techniques for dealing with it.
We hope to have a more comprehensive safety strategy for people experiencing harassment in the very near future but in the mean time remember, those people who harass are cowards. You are powerful and resilient, you will make it through this!
Are you in Vancouver?
The Vancouver Police and the City of Vancouver are committed to sex worker safety and ensuring we have safe places to work.
If you are experiencing bias from City Inspectors or Licensing staff please report it to the Naked Truth Support Team or you can report to the to dedicated sex work liaison staff;
April – April.Sumter-Freitag@vancouver.ca
Bronwyn – Bronwen.McRae-Smith@vancouver.ca
The Vancouver police recognize that there is work to be done to earn the trust of our community but want you to know that they are here if you are the victim of a crime or experiencing exploitation. Their priority is not your job, their priority is to protect your safety.
If you are uncomfortable with reporting to police directly you can report to the Naked Truth Support Team or a sex worker organization.CONTACT
The Vancouver Police also have an embedded victims services staff worker who is not a police officer and who will respect your wishes and confidentiality when reporting crimes. Please contact any of the contacts below if you feel comfortable and if not we will be happy to connect you to other resources.
Counter Exploitation Unit – (604)717-2586
Brenda Lochhead – Community Support Worker
Counter Exploitation Unit, VPD
We are not afraid
If you are experiencing bias or lack of action when trying to report crimes, exploitation or bias from police and city staff in your area and do not know how to proceed, please report to the Naked Truth Support Team.
We will help you to examine your options and if you consent, we will attempt to intervene on your behalf. If you are uncomfortable with formal action, we will take your information for use in future actions to address harms caused by bias among mainstream systems like the police and city staff.
Reach out if you are unsure. We have all been there. Together we can change the cycle of violence and protect each other. We are a community and you matter.CONTACT
Background & Acknowledgements
The BCCEC and The TNT Media Collective would like to thank the Vancouver Police and the City of Vancouver for taking a chance and thinking outside the box. The past two decades have been emotional. We have come through these discussions together and have found our common ground in the health and safety of sex working people.
Even in the face of set backs, in the shadow of misconduct and indifference…we have managed to create an environment the safety of sex workers which is increasing all the time. These set backs have tested all of our resolve and made us question whether we can see these actions through.
The policies created by the City and Police in the wake of the Case of the Missing Women have been tried, stretched and tested. There is still a lot of fear. Among sex workers about interacting with police, among police about the truth of sex workers lives and among city staff as to how best to address exploitation and human rights for sex working people.
Thanks to the commitment of some sections and individuals, we are weathering the storm.
Moving forward into unknown territory takes courage. These processes and policies are not perfect but are still having a positive impact on the lives and safety of sex working people.
The policy of “lowest level of enforcement” has not only been adopted across the entire province of British Columbia but has also been adopted in cities outside of Canada. Other cities are recognizing the dangerous impact of abolition based policies and criminalization of any kind and choosing to avoid the mistakes made in Vancouver which eventually lead to a tragedy which impacted all citizens. The successes being experienced with increasing sex worker safety under the new policies adopted by both the City and Police are testament to the failure of the ideological and morality based approaches of the past.
In a city where 50 sex workers were killed by one criminal and at least 2 other serial criminals have been caught … and where in the last ten years no sex workers have been murdered under these policies, the path forward could not be more clear.
Decriminalization is the only way forward.
This is the legacy of the sex workers who died under the oppression of law. It took their blood and the horrific details of their deaths to move the community to change.
The killings continue in other places and the peace in Vancouver is fragile.
We commit to whatever it takes to bring reason to enforcement in other areas of Canada and to preserve the progress we are experiencing in Vancouver. We will honor the price so many paid to pave the road towards freedom.
We are so grateful to live in one of the most open cities in the world and we will never forget those who lost their lives and made it possible.
The Naked Truth Support Team are always here to help! Please contact us to be connected to resources in your area and feel free to browse the sex work friendly resources we have found by region.CONTACT