Red Umbrella March: Dec 17

1498980_960990340596979_2818308582714892969_o 10626254_960990240596989_8530293729730766873_o

Join us Dec. 17 at the BC legislature for the Red Umbrella March to Victoria City Hall. Join sex workers and their allies in a march to say violence against sex workers must stop now!

December 17th is the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, also known as the Red Umbrella Day. On this day, we are calling for an end to laws and unjust policing that prevent sex workers from reporting violence. These laws intersect with sexism, racism, ableism, and classism to perpetuate social stigma and create a cultural environment in which the violence perpetrated upon sex workers is seen as different from the violence perpetuated against others. Together, we will stand for autonomy, dignity, and the freedom to work in safety with equal access to justice.

The event is being co-organized by Peers Victoria Resource Society and the UVSS Women’s Centre, and will start at 5:30 PM at the Victoria Legislature. We’ll march to City Hall, where food, speakers and entertainment will await. We’ll have a limited number of $10 toques and $20 t-shirts on sale during the event – big thanks to Annie Morgan for the linocut design on the shirts, and Karolina Tokarski and Sarah Hunt for setting up the graphics.

In just the last few years over 140 sex workers have been murdered and/or disappeared. The Victoria Police department report that violence against sex workers has gone up by 56% in the last three years. It is urgent that sex workers have access to safe working conditions, legal recourse, health services, and “all human rights and civil liberties” (World Charter for Prostitutes’ Rights).

At this vibrant event, we will both honour the lives lost and celebrate our vital movement. The red umbrella is an international symbol of sex workers rights; please WEAR RED and bring your red umbrella to the rally and be a part of the movement!

For more information about Red Umbrella Day and how you can support sex workers’ rights, visit:
http://www.swopusa.org/dec17/

Global anti-trafficking report finds victims left out of funding

The Global Alliance Against Trafficking in Women has released its annual report looking at how funds to combat trafficking are being used around the world. The summary and full report are available here but here are some highlights from the report:

  • The majority of funding dedicated to anti-trafficking initiatives is spent in either prevention or prosecution, and that a very small amount of funding is dedicated to victim assistance and/or reintegration services.
    Major donors don’t consult with people who have experienced trafficking as to how funds for anti-trafficking initiatives should be spent
  • Funding for re-integration programs needs to be consistent, and addressing the plethora of social vulnerabilities faced by people who have experienced trafficking are not considered a priority by funding bodies
  • There has been little research undertaken into the amount of funding the anti-trafficking industry attracts and virtually no research on the impact and effectiveness of funded anti-trafficking initiatives
  • Frontline workers report that funding for shelters and other assistance and re-integration services is notoriously difficult to access, whilst funding to attend or facilitate conferences exploring the issues surrounding anti-trafficking is much easier to access.
  • The social construct of anti-trafficking defines the policy response to the issue. Similarly, whether a person is recognised as a “victim” or “migrant” is defined by the media, who are influenced by policy defined by political expediency. Social constructs surrounding anti-trafficking –which are not internationally homogenous- define funding priorities. For example, in the United Kingdom, migrants and people who have experienced trafficking are referred to as “slaves” and those who facilitate migration are referred to as “criminals”: subsequently, the policy and funding response is based on principles of “law and order”. Whereas in the Ukraine, there is a greater emphasis on supporting and assisting people who have experienced trafficking, and policy and funding responses to trafficking issues are based on human rights principles.

Global anti-trafficking report finds victims left out of funding

The Global Alliance Against Trafficking in Women has released its annual report looking at how funds to combat trafficking are being used around the world. The summary and full report are available here but here are some highlights from the report:

  • The majority of funding dedicated to anti-trafficking initiatives is spent in either prevention or prosecution, and that a very small amount of funding is dedicated to victim assistance and/or reintegration services.
    Major donors don’t consult with people who have experienced trafficking as to how funds for anti-trafficking initiatives should be spent
  • Funding for re-integration programs needs to be consistent, and addressing the plethora of social vulnerabilities faced by people who have experienced trafficking are not considered a priority by funding bodies
  • There has been little research undertaken into the amount of funding the anti-trafficking industry attracts and virtually no research on the impact and effectiveness of funded anti-trafficking initiatives
  • Frontline workers report that funding for shelters and other assistance and re-integration services is notoriously difficult to access, whilst funding to attend or facilitate conferences exploring the issues surrounding anti-trafficking is much easier to access.
  • The social construct of anti-trafficking defines the policy response to the issue. Similarly, whether a person is recognised as a “victim” or “migrant” is defined by the media, who are influenced by policy defined by political expediency. Social constructs surrounding anti-trafficking –which are not internationally homogenous- define funding priorities. For example, in the United Kingdom, migrants and people who have experienced trafficking are referred to as “slaves” and those who facilitate migration are referred to as “criminals”: subsequently, the policy and funding response is based on principles of “law and order”. Whereas in the Ukraine, there is a greater emphasis on supporting and assisting people who have experienced trafficking, and policy and funding responses to trafficking issues are based on human rights principles.

Members of the Peers Community Write Personal Narratives

In response to the debate surrounding C36 which reduced the complexity and diversity of sex workers’ experiences to polarizing stereotypes, some members of the Peers community wrote narratives for submission to members of the federal government. Narratives from Peers Victoria, Nov 5, 2014

Members of the Peers Community Write Personal Narratives

In response to the debate surrounding C36 which reduced the complexity and diversity of sex workers’ experiences to polarizing stereotypes, some members of the Peers community wrote narratives for submission to members of the federal government. Narratives from Peers Victoria, Nov 5, 2014

Opinion piece by PEERS on harmful law

Across the country, sex worker support organizations including Peers Victoria are continuing their advocacy and protest to raise awareness of the harms that Canada’s new anti-sex work law poses for sex workers. Here’s Peers executive director Rachel Phillips writing about this in the Times Colonist this week.

http://www.timescolonist.com/opinion/op-ed/comment-new-prostitution-law-a-missed-opportunity-1.1529700