Education, education, education

13 07 2009

We’re proposing the following: early sex and health education at schools. Ensuring that young students understand the consequences of sex and health risks associated with it, when not done safely.
Students also need to be educated how to keep themselves safe and how to keep their friends safe. Especially for female students. In a way that, if they were approached by someone, who can potentially be predators, they know what to do. Or to reject any baits, that may drag them into prostitution.

Most importantly is scenario trainings. I think by providing real-experienced scenarios these students will have better understanding what has happened, what is happening and what can happen in the real world.
Followed with early drug education and how it ties with prostitution.

Another proposed solution is providing basic education and skill training for sex trade workers. We can lobby educational institutions to come up with programs that our cheaper and shorter, even if possible, free. And because Vancouver has many educational institutions, we can gather instructors from those institutions who are willing to be involved in the outreach program.
And we think the best locations for the programs to be held are our own SFU Harbour Center campus or Vancouver Public Library, as they are close enough and very accessible from the downtown Eastside. And of course, form alliances with PACE (Prostitution Alternatives Counseling & Education) Society as well as WISH Drop-In Center to advertise about the programs.

Any thoughts?


Proposed solution: bringing light to the sex industry

11 07 2009

Social Value Proposition:  to destigmatize sex work by providing a forum (i.e. magazine) for the diverse voices of individuals working in the sex industry.

Our proposed solution is a magazine to create a space for sex workers to speak for themselves.  This idea came from a magazine published in New York in 2004 – $PREAD magazine.

This magazine’s editorial mission is “to publish any perspective about the sex industry as long as it is the view of a current or former sex worker.  This is a forum for sex workers to write articles, submit photographs, and create art without censorship or the threat of moral backlash.”

We feel that a magazine like this is transferable solution to address violence against sex trade workers in Vancouver.

This magazine speaks to the general public as a way to:

  • promote protection of sex workers
  • generate buzz and awareness – make the invisible social problem visible (i.e. violence against sex workers is a real problem)
  • de-stigmatize sex work
  • make this an open problem to educate the general public
  • address health issues involved
  • engage and empower sex workers in a meaningful and on-going project
  • eliminate violence against sex workers

This magazine publishes feature-length articles with a focus on personal experiences and political insights and provide practical information like news, health reports, and resources. Original illustrated artwork by sex workers as well as photo essays illuminate all aspects of the sex industry from an insider’s/first-person’s perspective.

Target Audience

  • young adults
  • women
  • clients (men engaged in purchasing sex)


  • All over Vancouver particularly transit locations
  • Newspaper stands
  • Universities (e.g. Women’s Centre)
  • Community centres
  • WISH drop-in centre

Funding & Capital


  • Volunteers (for staffing photographers, artists, writers, promotion)
  • Partnerships with P.A.C.E, WISH, educational institutes (i.e. SFU Women’s Centre)
  • Engage and involve former or current sex workers
  • Support of subscribers, contributors, and donors


  • Subscribers and donors (e-donors)
  • Advertisements* in the magazine
  • Sponsors from businesses for distribution, marketing or monetary donations

*Sex workers are one of the few consumer markets with a significant disposable income (non-survival type) that remains untapped by most advertisers.


  • buzz marketing
  • Online marketing (e.g. facebook, twitter, forums, blogging)
  • word-of-mouth
  • maximize exposure = distribute free copies on busy streets such as Robson Street, or at universities and high schools

Sex sells right?  The topic itself should generate much public interest so buzz marketing and word-of-mouth can effectively advertise this magazine.

Rich White Folk, Aboriginals and Stigma

8 07 2009

As you have seen us blog and deliberate over solutions for the past week, I’ve been able to draw conclusions about the approaches we should be trying to fight violence towards survival sex trade workers.

One approach would be to try and offer the workers protection against this violence. This is obviously the most short-term approach to a solution we can take without proposing something that will merely serve as a band aid without tackling a more fundamental problem.

Another approach – and very much on the opposite side of the spectrum – would be to radically change the industry, or perhas eliminate it altogether. While this may seem too ideal, it is possible for it to be done with the active support of politicians and the public.

The most attractive approach to us however, is a mix between the two, whereby we would try to offer protection to these sex trade workers, help them get out of the trade, and at the same time try and give the industry an overhaul so that the people who don’t want to be there don’t have to.

However, we recognize that in order to do any real, lasting good to the survival sex trade, we would have to transform the prevailing stigmas against the people in the trade first.

SFU Sociology’s own Chris Atchinson revealed to us that the prevailing demographic of survival sex trade workers consisted of First Nations women. These women come from perhaps the most disadvantaged ethnic background and class in our society. It is no wonder why the public chooses to ignore their personal issues, their addiction problems, and whatever else have you. If we were to make a comparison to, say, rich, white, upper echelon pill-poppers and alcoholics residing in the British properties we wouldn’t see much a difference (besides perhaps their substance abuse of choice). And heaven forbid one of us SFU students were go missing, yet who cares about the aboriginal women in the downtown east side when they are subjected to violence or go missing? Could it really be because ‘they’re only Indians anyway’??

Yes, the choice was made to go into the survival sex trade, but because that was the only option available to them as people from a disadvantaged background that hasn’t allowed them to attain access to proper education, etc… Moreover, many of these people are dealing with addictions (very much like the pill popping, alcoholic, rich white women in the British properties), which worsens the problem.

Long story short, stigma is a very pressing issue that needs to be addressed if we are to make any sort of dent at all in this problem.