Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Two B.C. sex-worker organizations shutting doors

Yesterday, the news was about PEERS Vancouver closing in the spring. Today, the other primary Vancouver organization supporting street-level sex workers has also announced it's done. PACE Vancouver will run out of money to pay its staff in just three weeks.
I'm doing some contract work with PEERS Victoria and can tell you that even though that organization is also going through difficult times, it has a more diverse funding base and is hanging in under a great new executive director, Marion Little. But it will still be facing one of the biggest funding challenges in its 16-year history in the spring, when the same revamped employment contract that is wiping out PEERS Vancouver comes into effect across B.C.
Finding money to help sex workers is an extremely difficult undertaking, as I learned the hard way during my three years leading PEERS Victoria. The reason these groups are struggling is because the citizenry simply doesn't care enough about what happens to the impoverished, marginalized women engaged in survival sex work, and our governments know it.
Please speak up - to your MLA, to the provincial and federal governments. Please make this a personal issue, too, and donate money, warm winter clothing, food for hot soups and stews (PEERS Victoria serves more than 300 "meals" from its outreach van every month to women working our local strolls). Put some time into learning  more about the issues so that this isolated, stigmatized population isn't left to suffer at the hands of our massive disinterest.  

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