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?





Mobile Access Project in Jeopardy

2 07 2009

The Mobile Access Project (MAP) is the result of the collaboration between the WISH Drop-In Centre and the PACE (Prostitutes Alternatives Counseling & Education) Society with funding from the province of British Columbia. MAP takes the form of a van that operates 7 days a week from 10:30pm until 5:30am (when all of the stores have closed) in the Downtown Eastside (DTES). This van is staffed by 3 women, at least one of whom have been a survival sex trade worker.

SUN0603N-JLSmapvan.jpg

They pass out coffee, juice, water, condoms, clean needles and other supplies. Most importantly, they converse with sex trade workers and these workers know that there is someone who cares about their well-being.

In the WISH Drop-in Centre’s “Evaluation of the Mobile Access Project (MAP)” report written in 2006, MAP employees estimate that the van serves 1500 women a month and reaches the “most marginalized women in the DTES” .

  • Over 90% of sex trade workers said that the van’s presence made them feel “safer on the street”.
  • 16% remember a specific time when the van’s presence saved them from being physically assaulted.
  • 10% remember a specific time when the van’s presence saved them from being sexually assaulted.
  • 57% of sex trade workers report “bad dates” (clients who didn’t pay and/or assaulted the worker) which have been linked to Robert Pickton’s murder conviction.
  • 1200 used needles were collected per month
  • Predators who work in the DTES area know about the presence of the van and the support workers for the sex trade workers.

When the report was written, it was concluded that the MAP project had succeeded in its goal of harm reduction by reducing the number of sexually transmitted infections including HIV. The project has also allowed the most marginalized women in Vancouver to obtain help when they need it and know that someone will notice if they or another “regular” goes missing.

Though this project has helped reduce the number of health problems in the area, given the sex trade workers a sense of safety, deterred predators from abusing sex trade workers, led the resolution of violent crimes…the funding of this project is now under review.

On March 21, 2009, CTV reports that the annual cost of $265000 needed to pay the employees and provide supplies for the van may no longer be funded by the province. It was pointed out to the Minister of Public Safety and the Minister of Housing and Social Development that the cities of Victoria, Calgary and Halifax have sister programs, to which the answer was “We’ll see.”

Due to this lack of funding, MAP ceased operations on June 12, 2009, according to a Vancouver Sun article written on June 4, 2009. In a city that can afford what some have called a “5 ring circus” or a “2 week party”, this is not good enough. We can not sacrifice the well-being of the most vulnerable sector of our society for any reason.