SEX WORK TOOLKIT
Understandng Sex Work
Sex work sometimes negatively impacts individuals, community groups and the social system at large. Each group—sex workers, children and youth, businesses, and residents—feels the impact differently. Since 2004, Living in Community has been exploring these concerns through consultations and engagement with community members.
Due to their visibility, street-based sex workers are sometimes blamed for things that they might have nothing to do with. For example, the presence of sex workers is often blamed for an increase in residential or automobile break-ins even though they have not participated in those crimes.
Awareness of the grievances of sex workers, businesses and residents can help us find common ground so that, together, we can improve the health and safety of our neighbourhoods. Here is a chart of concerns that have been identified by community members, many of which can be addressed through dialogue and education.
|Increased traffic in neighbourhood||Being blamed for everything that is wrong with the neighbourhood regardless of whether the problem is related to sex work||Customers being harassed|
|Residents being harassed by johns||Judgment & discrimination||Hard time keeping female staff because of safety concerns|
|Garbage||Threats||Businesses broken into|
|Property values are affected||Labeled||Decreased business|
|Strangers in our neighbourhood||Violence||Using the entrance of the businesses as a washroom|
|Not enough police||Poverty||Drug paraphernalia and condoms|
|Fearful for children’s safety||Lack of support services||Increased amounts of garbage|
|Recruitment of children by pimps||Sexual exploitation||Verbally abused by sex workers|
|Increase in criminal and drug activity||Businesses have hired security guards who shame and humiliate workers||Not wanting to stay open late|
|Noise||Drug addiction||Property damage|
|Being harassed by sex workers||Homelessness||Criminal activity|
|Threats from sex workers||Death||Businesses have given up reporting break-ins and damages because it becomes an insurance issue|
|Drug dealers||STDs||Having to hire increased security|
|Don’t feel safe walking at night||Recruiting||Negative opinion of neighbourhood when there is visible sex work|
|Sex workers having sex with customers in public places||Objects getting thrown at them|
|Sex workers standing in front of residents houses and working||Discredited due to drug use|
|Seniors fear for their safety||Victims of crime|
|Hopelessness & worthlessness|