Living in Community is guided by the following values:
- 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
In working to build relationships in the community based on these values, our work is guided by the following statements and assumptions:
- The negative impact of sex work on communities in Vancouver is unacceptable. Residents, businesses and sex workers are negatively affected by the lack of legislation, policies, funding of services and a coherent, co-ordinated strategy within government and the community to address the issue of sexual exploitation of children, youth and adult sex work in Vancouver, in Canada and, ultimately, worldwide.
- The root causes of poverty, addiction, mental health, history of sexual abuse, lack of safe and affordable housing, criminalization of the activity of sex work, discrimination and stigmatization must be dealt with so that individuals are able to make healthy, safe and informed choices in their lives.
- The status quo is not working. Current laws continue to contribute to violent, unsafe and unhealthy conditions for all community members. There is an urgent need for immediate action.
- Survival sex work, defined as the inability to refuse to work in dangerous circumstances due to addiction, mental health issues, poverty, predatory violence and so on, is unacceptable. The government and society need to immediately address the extreme violence and marginalization experienced by survival sex workers.
- Aboriginal people are over-represented in survival sex work due to the legacy of colonization, residential schools, discrimination, systemic racism and the lack of culturally relevant services.
- Services to address the impacts of sex work should be located in the communities that are affected by sex work activity and in the communities where sex workers live.
- Sex workers are part of the community and should be included in all discussions, because the negative effects of the current situation and the instability of the sex industry directly affect them.
- Vancouver has a very diverse multicultural population. Immigrant and multicultural populations need culturally appropriate programs and health and safety services and resources in their own languages.
- Prevention should be the primary goal when dealing with the negative impacts of sex work and sexual exploitation. This is especially applicable with regard to children and youth.