policy and procedure manual revisions

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susan davis susan davis's picture
policy and procedure manual revisions

during much of our work we have identified many areas where systems policies and practices are creating barriers for sex workers trying to access meaningful supports. it is our hope that systems who do engage with the sex industry will begin an audit of current polices and procedures related to the protection of, enforcement against and the stability of the sex industry and then engage in an inclusive process to capture or design best policies and practices for sex industry engagement to ensure fair treatment and that the barriers of the past are eliminated.

people could in theory begin this work now. budgets are not really required in my opinion this work could be initiated by the governmet bodies responsible such as;

canadian border services

police services municiple,provincial and federal

corrections canada

health authorities

NGO's providing support to sex industry workers

tax and revenue canada

victims serivces departments- provincial and federal

municipal staff in business licensing departments, social planning, housing,etc

housing authorities;

it could be something like this;

policy and procedure mannual revisions

in the past, sex industry workers have experienced unitended bariers to accessing supports when they are a victim of a crime, when they are seeking financial support,exiting support, support in the form of information related to our work, information on government programs availible or have been unintentionally negatively impacted by enforcement actions;
for all government departments and divisions who engage the sex industry to work towards;

  • Increasing and improving incident reporting
  • Identifying predatory offenders
  • Increasing numbers of sex industry workers accessing supports
  • Improvement of communication between sex industry workers and government agenicies incharge of their protection
  • Creating professional development materials about the sex industry for government employees
  • Facilitating greater success in the prosecution of those who commit violence against sex industry workers
  • Improving direct outreach to the sex industry


Overall objective

To undertake an evaluation of existing policies and practices that are associated with the sex industry.Ultimately, to identify the strategies currently in use by government systems and supports and those recommended by other stakeholders, to create a best practices document and facilitate increased safety for the sex industry community.   


Specific Objectives

  • to design and host a series of workshops with all stake holders including sex industry workers; residents and local businesses impacted; staff of government department) to identify thepolicies and practices that are currently use.
  • The workshops will outline the practices in use, any challenges faced by government or support staff, and any institutional constraints affecting meaningful access to supports and protection for sex industry workers . In addition, we will identify unintended impacts of policies and practices in use on the sex industry community and provide a venue for discussion on how to address both the needs of the govenrment/support agency and the needs of sex industry workers.


this could allow for an inclusive process for identifying and correcting the problems of the past and could allow people to begin to move towards protection of sex industry workers now. many of these policies are not directly related to the criminal code provisions but more related to systematic bias against sex industry workers trying to access support.

remember, inclusion is key and i believe sex industry workers and/or prostituted people hold the key to meaningful and sustainable solutions to filling the gaps created by past policies and procedures. only if all sides engage will we be able to design better approaches the reflect the experiences of all workers and government support staff who also express frustration at some of the limitations caused by current policies and practices in use.

what do people think?anyone willing to try?


susan davis susan davis's picture

no comments or contributions? big surprise.....


What would improving the communication between sex industry women and NGOs look like? Which NGOs need the most support in their communication with women in the sex industry? 


What are the biggest obstructions to women in the sex industry in terms of utilizing systems such as health care, and housing assistance? 

How can police complacency to violence be tackled?

I agree that there are massive system changes that need to be made in order to make things like health care, housing, and law enforcement accessible to women in the sex industry. Preventative measures also need to be taken in these systems to make them more accessible for all women so that we do not leave women vulnerable to selling sex to survive. 

I would imagine that legal aid is something that also needs to be looked at. 

susan davis susan davis's picture

providing safe space as described in the tri council policies for sex workers to express their needs and what barriers they face in accessing services. also, for NGO's to take direction from their members or the group their serve.confidentiality, honorarium and non judgemental- no politics- whether for decrim or against- NGO's should not be playing politics when designing servicesor tryin to creat safe space for sex workers.

the biggest obstruction is discrimination. we hear stories of workers being told to become escorts-they don't need welfare- they're pretty, also in terms of housing, workers must be able to work from home if they choose. programs that demand a worker exit the sex industry are counter prodictuive and do not allow for a worker to ease out of sex work. this zero tolerance byhousing authorities is a huge barrier to housing  sex workers.

 also zero tolerance to drug/ alcohol use is in direct conflict with recommended treatmnents for trauma/abuse survivors. instead working with "relaspse" and treating addiction as a symptom- ie- not being kicked out of housing for using but rather the reasons for using are examined and addressed and housing is maintained. currently zero tolerance practices in this regard mean sex workers/or any people who are survivors of abuse /trauma are unfairly being judged as weak as a result of a well known symptom of their trauma.

also, some programs demand we attribute our traua to one particular event, meaning that sex workers- who are cast as all victims and sex work as violence against women- are raped too much...you heard me right and do not qualify for compensation or supports under victims services/compemsation. also, we were told by staff that sex workers were greedy and would just collect compensation indefinitely.....so biased.

the police are moving away from punishment and towards protection in the form of an action group partnership between sex workers, sex workers support agencies, and police. many great ideas have emerged from that group and i encourage municipalities all over canada to do the same. reach out to sex workers, sex workers support agecies,...creat safe space to engage with them, and listen to their knowledge and expertise. sex workers hold the key to successfully bridging some of these divides.

i go to the police board as a delegation as often as possible and would also recommend people all over canada do the same. no matter wat your position- going as a delegation to the police board will bring it closer to the forefront for police priorities. it did in vancouver anyway.

i also agree about the preventative measures statement- no person should be forced into the sex industry to survive.we must break down the barriers ofthe past and ensure people have access to the resources intended to protect them.

susan davis susan davis's picture

i guess i should add, in terms of police services engaging with sex workers,

a best practice we employ in vancouver is that police officers do not carry guns or wear uniforms when attending meetings with us.

i also refer you to this thread about culture in order to define ways of ensuring no mis communications or offense is taken. i also describe ways to find local representatives of under ground culture to help people with translation between groups from the mainstream and groups representing street culture, sex workers, at risk women and youth.

these ideas can all be traslated to any marginalized group. that's beauty of the tri council policy!!!



susan davis susan davis's picture

i would also like to add as far as process for engagement;

the living in community committee engaged in a series of dialougues known as the global cafe style of work shop. it was extremely inclusive and in my opinion this method as the potential to really create meaningful change.

the sex industry workers safety action group partnership between VPD, sex worker support services and sex workers also essentially employs a round table method that allows all perspectives to be heard. we work witin current legal frame work towards safety.

the process is explained in detail  here... www.livingincommunity.ca in the full report.


Thanks for posting those. 

Can you tell me more about going as a delegation to the police board? 

susan davis susan davis's picture

sure, just look on your local police services web site and go the the site map searching for police board. you call the contact number and are added to the next meeting as a delegation.

as a delegation, you are given 5 minutes to speak. they will not answer your questions or give you any feed back as far as outcomes or resolutions related to your delegations concerns. the police police them selves.only if you are added to the agenda, will you be able to communicate directly with board members.

after 5 delegations here, we were invited to the DAC diversity advisory committe, and from there...after an incident involvong a hate crimes discussion....it was decided a new committee/action group needed to be formed. SIWSAG- an action group in partnership with VPD, sex worker support services and sex workers.

i am going again on dec 9 as a delegation and am preparing a speech. i practice it to ensure i'm within time and i make copies so i can give board members something to leave with and a way to remember/pass on what's been said.


Thanks for the information. I very much appreciate it.

susan davis susan davis's picture

i had to cancel our delegation today due to poverty....dang it!!!

the hardest part about advocacy is not making any money and not being home to run my business/work.everything gets so far behind!!