There are times in everyone’s life when support is needed. Sex workers, in particular, may find it difficult to ask for assistance from others because they have spent the majority of their lives taking care of themselves. In Vancouver, there are organizations providing non-judgmental support and advocacy based on the principles of equality and the human rights of sex workers. These organizations provide basic necessities and programs for sex workers who are working or those who have exited.
They serve different purposes and use different approaches. Some organizations use an experiential model based on the belief that the best support a sex worker can receive is from an individual who also has had a history of sex work. Any one of them can refer you to a service that works for you.
Services include counselling, education, advocacy, peer education, support, individual case planning and co-ordination.
Phone: 604-488-1001 ext 231
HUSTLE (How You Survive This Life Everyday) is an outreach and support program of HIM - Health Initiative for Men Society – for self-identified men in the sex industry that is designed and delivered by experienced individuals. HUSTLE also identifies and supports the needs of experiential youth in Vancouver.
SWAN (Supporting Women’s Alternatives Network)
SWAN is a culturally diverse group of women working to provide culturally appropriate and language-specific support, education, research, advocacy and outreach for newcomer, migrant and immigrant sex workers.
WISH Drop-In Centre Society
WISH provides services to women working in survival sex work. The drop-in centre is the heart of the WISH programs—a safe place off the street where women can find acceptance, hot meals, support services and more. WISH also operates the MAP (Mobile Access Project) and the Bad date reporting service.
MAP (Mobile Access Project)
MAP is operated by the WISH Drop-In Centre Society in partnership with PACE Society. It provides overnight outreach to sex workers (support, condoms, needle exchange, basic first aid and emergency services) when no other services are available.
Sex workers can make reports about violent and predatory individuals to alert other sex workers in Metro Vancouver. Bad date reports are sent to WISH, which then compiles them and disseminates them through a large network of service providers that are in contact with sex workers.
Boys R Us
Boys R Us is a referral and outreach program that provides a safe, supportive drop-in for guys and transgender participants who work or used to work in the sex industry. This site, connected to AIDS Vancouver requires a password.
Transgender Health Program
Phone: 604-734-1514 or 1-866-999-1514 (BC only)
This is a peer-supported weekly discussion group open to those who are exploring their own gender issues. It is located at Three Bridges and funded by Vancouver Coastal Health.