Welcome to Trade Secrets!

The importance of this guide cannot be minimized. This information is not only good for sex industry workers, but also for clients and other parties involved in the industry such as: business owners (eg/ bar and agency owners etc); and coworkers (eg/ security, drivers, booking staff etc.) We hope this guide will answer most questions you have in matters of health and safety in the sex industry.

The years that the BC Coalition of Experiential Communities (BCCEC) has been working on this project has been a joy and very informative, even to us. Personally, I have been involved in the sex trade for thirty-two years and have seen many changes – good and bad over the years.

Even though being a sex worker is legal in Canada, it’s the laws surrounding different aspects that are archaic, victimizing, and criminalizing. Band-aid solutions have done nothing except caused more harm than necessary. For example: In 1984 when the Mulroney government passed Bill C49 which made ‘Communication in public for the purposes of prostitution” a crime, it opened the door wide for predators to prey without notice.

It was after that legislation was passed that the working women in Vancouver started to disappear. Women were no longer able to stand on the street for fear of arrest. This forced them to hide in doorways and dark areas; a tragedy that tore apart families, communities, and a country. The scars left in its wake may never completely heal.

Of course now, Bill C-36 has begun a new age of danger for many sex workers in Canada. After the Mulroney era laws were struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme  Court of Canada, The Harper Conservatives implemented a new legal regime which replicates the harms of the old laws. Some parts of Canada are moving away from these harmful laws and some police services do not enforce the laws at all but they remain a shadow over sex worker safety in this country.

In our Western Culture, we are taught about sex through a Judeo-Christian mentality, so it takes a lot of courage for people to explore their sexuality in a safe, clean, and non-judgmental way by accessing services of sex industry workers.

We hope that this guide will serve as an informative resource for workers and clients in all aspects of the industry. We are gender-friendly. We know that the sex trade does not include only women; but transgender and male workers as well. We hope you will pass this guide on to those who have not seen it or heard of it.

The topics in this guide may be unusual to some, kinky for others, and downright offensive for some, as well. It is not our intention to shock or offend. These topics are real. Human sexuality is expressed in many different ways. All areas of the industry should be looked at with an open mind and without judgment.

We also hope Trade Secrets will support the movement to change laws that harm sex workers, so workers can access safe, secure, clean, comfortable and friendly places where people can enjoy “their thing” without fear of prosecution, or being shamed in public.

Many people have worked on this project. Their input has been extremely valuable, and our appreciation for their input and time cannot be expressed enough.

Thank you for using Trade Secrets, and we hope you enjoy reading it – as we enjoyed compiling this important information. While this is not an exhaustive resource on all aspects of sex industry work, we tried to touch on everything and covered as much as possible. The safety and health of workers, clients, co-workers, and employers is of great importance and we hope that all involved will benefit. Enjoy!

Chanel Martin
BCCEC Member