The tragedy of the Missing and Murdered Women from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside caused many people in the city of Vancouver to be gravely concerned about the health and safety of sex workers. But people were also worried about the impact of sex work on communities and the risks of sexual exploitation for young people. Living in Community grew out of these concerns at the neighbourhood level. Resident groups, neighbourhood houses, business improvement associations, community policing centres, government agencies, non-profit organizations and sex workers recognized that changes were required immediately and that collaboration was the only way forward.
During the initial two years of the project, from 2005 to 2007, an extensive community consultation process brought people together to engage in dialogue about sex work and youth sexual exploitation and potential solutions for change. This process resulted in the comprehensive 2007 LIC Action Plan with 27 broad-based recommendations to make communities healthier and safer through prevention/education, harm reduction/intervention, exiting services and legal responses.
From 2006 to 2007, LIC’s Community Initiative for Health and Safety created a detailed sex work toolkit. The toolkit provides practical tools, information and resources about sex work concerns and youth sexual exploitation.
Since 2007, LIC has been working to implement its 2007 Action Plan. Our work was highlighted in Forsaken, the final report of the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry as a promising model to address complex social problems. We are currently in discussion with communities throughout BC about exporting the LIC model to communities outside Vancouver.
LIC’s vision is to create communities that are healthier and safer in relation to sex work and sexual exploitation for each and every community member.
- embrace diversity and be respectful of everyone
- enable participation
- encourage learning and self-growth as a path to change
- take a stance against exploitation and social injustice
- enable understanding and build community
- listen and be open to different perspectives
- affect policy and legal change
- build greater awareness, dialogue and responsiveness from multiple stakeholders
- reduce and prevent sexual exploitation
- increase direct services for sex workers
This video shares the development of the Living in Community model and our accomplishments over the past 10 years in Vancouver and beyond.
*Illustrated story by Rosanne Lambert & Janet McLeish http://TakingStock.TV
In 2015/2016, Living in Community’s work is funded by the Province of BC, the City of Vancouver, the Vancouver Foundation and the Leon and Thea Koerner Foundation.