Living in Community is an innovative community development model that offers new strategies, concepts, and ideas for improving the health and safety of sex workers. We focus on getting at root causes of issues like stigma, poverty, and gender-based violence that create systemic vulnerability for sex workers, and we seek to build understanding and common ground with other community members.
Given the complexity of sex work issues, LIC is continuously adapting how it works to respond to the current context and to what we are testing and learning along the way.
(Click image for full view)
Our model has 4 key areas that we focus on changing:
- Change in Culture & Mindsets: Stigma is one of the biggest barriers that sex workers face to accessing services and supports that meet their needs and to being treated in a humane and respectful way. However, most of our understanding about sex work comes from the media, movies, and other inaccurate, sensational sources. Through our training, workshops, and public education, we work to provide factual information about the realities of sex work and sex workers’ lives, which is a key part to shifting how we think about and respond to sex work. Through the conversations we have with the public and policy makers, we are working to create a culture of acceptance, dignity, and justice where sex workers are seen as for the whole human beings that they are. For more information about our training, check here.
- Change in Relationships & Collaboration: Change doesn’t happen in isolation. Although collaboration is hard work, we know that to get at the roots of social problems, it’s essential to bring together diverse and often opposing voices to really understand the problem and find effective solutions. By bridging relationships between groups who usually don’t sit at the same tables, we create the possibility for new ways of being together, as well as the space for new solutions to emerge. The broader community also has a role to play in addressing the social issues that face our cities and towns. Everyone can be a part of the solution in creating communities that are healthier and safer for everyone.
- Change in Practice: Sex workers live rich and diverse lives, and require a spectrum of supports to meet their unique needs. Changing practice is about creating accessible and responsive services and institutions to meet sex workers wherever they are at. This includes outreach and sex work-support services, as well as access to healthcare, housing, criminal justice and legal support, and supports to transition to other kinds of work if requested.
- Change in Policy, Systems, & Structures: We know that we can’t simply provide band-aid solutions to the big social issues of our times. We work with organizations and institutions to develop their own policies that get at the root issues that create inequities for sex workers. For more information about our work to change policies and systems, check here.