SHOP is hiring for a new full-time Community Outreach Organizer. If you are passionate about sex workers’ rights, feminism, outreach and harm reduction, we would love to hear from you! Please see job description attached. Applications for this position will be accepted until 12pm Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. To apply, please submit a cover letter and resume to firstname.lastname@example.org telling us why you are a great fit for this job supporting and advocating for sex workers.
We encourage applicants to self-identify any marginalized lived experiences and identities you are comfortable sharing in your application, with the knowledge that disclosed experiences will remain confidential.
The COVID-19 pandemic has threatened the livelihood of many workers, particularly those who work in unprotected industries and lack access to traditional forms of income support and employment-related benefits. This pandemic has been especially devastating for sex workers who are unable to work – many of whom are experiencing a drastic loss of income without employement benefits, sick days, EI, and facing barriers to federal financial support programs. Without supports, sex workers find themselves trying to balance between self-isolating versus putting themselves at risk to continue meeting clients (some of whom are taking advantage of the situation to pressure workers for higher risk services for lower wages).
In the middle of an unprecedented public health crisis our sex working communities are struggling to access basic services and protections without facing stigma, violence, shame or barriers. This is especially true for sex workers who are homeless or do not have safe housing, are Indigenous and/or racialized, are trans, two spirit and non-binary, are surviving violence in their home, have precarious immigration status, and for sex workers who are living with chronic illness or disabilities.
With the help of some generous donations and emergency funding, Safe Harbour Outreach Project (SHOP) has established a COVID-19 Sex Worker Relief Fund to directly support sex workers during this difficult time. This SHOP Relief Fund will be used to help sex workers most affected by the pandemic continue to stay housed, pay bills, put food on the table, and survive the pandemic.
If you are a sex worker living in St. John’s or surrounding communities who identifies as a woman or a marginalized gender, and you would like to apply to the SHOP Sex Worker Relief Fund, please fill out our online application form (on your own or with the help of someone else), or get in contact with SHOP staff if you do not have access to the internet. We’re currently able to offer one-time funding and applications will remain open until we’ve reached capacity. If additional funds are available, we will update this on our social media. The form can be reached at the link embedded above, or by copying and pasting the following into your browser: shorturl.at/huQUZ
If you would like to contribute and donate to this fund, please visit the Canada Helps page of the St. John’s Women’s Centre and specify that you’d like the funds to go to “Safe Harbour Outreach Project (SHOP)”. All donations during this time will go directly to sex workers in need, with the goal of prioritizing members of our community who have been most affected. The more donations we receive, the more people we can support. Help ensure that no one is left behind during this pandemic. Please consider making a donation, and share this widely!
For more information about this Relief Fund, please contact:
SHOP Program Coordinator
SHOP continues to advocate in many ways to challenge discrimination, stereotypes and misconceptions against sex workers, engaging in campaigns and education to address stigma, violence, and call for change. We submitted a report to St. John’s City Council in December 2018 containing information on why we advocated against a moratorium on massage parlour permits, references to national and international research for sex worker safety, and multiple letters from sex workers and survivors in St. John’s. We are now publishing the report as City Council is voting on the issue. You can view that report here: Lifting the Ban – SHOP Report for City Council
SHOP Summer Student/Program Support Worker
This position engages in group facilitation, outreach, harm reduction, advocacy, feminist and trauma informed approaches to front line service work. We strive to make our work as intersectional and strengths-based as possible so that individuals working with SHOP can experience community work while building their skills and work experience working with women. Duties include: planning summer workshops and events, assisting in the ongoing development of SHOP materials, co-coordinating regular weekly drop-in meals, volunteer support, upholding a non-judgmental environment for current and former sex workers and marginalized communities including LGBTQI2S people, Indigenous peoples, people living with disabilities, survivors of violence and trauma, formerly incarcerated women, and criminalized communities. Requirements: submitting a certificate of conduct, must identify as a woman or someone who has experience in sex work as a woman, previous engagement with sex worker issues. Preference given to women who are current or former sex workers.
PLAN FOR SUPERVISION
Reporting to the SHOP Program Coordinator, with support from the SHOP Community Outreach position, the SHOP Program Support Worker will receive training, support and check-ins on a weekly basis, with opportunities for debrief
PLEASE NOTE: Students applying for this position must be entering or returning to Post-Secondary training within the current year, must be legally entitled to work in Canada, and must not be an immediate family member of the employer.
Hourly Rate of Pay: $13/hour
Number of Hours a Week: 30
Number of Weeks Requested: 6
Closing Date: Tuesday, June 25, 2019, 4pm NL Time
Please submit resumes to email@example.com
It’s time we turned the tide on how we talk about sex workers.
The right words can make a huge difference. They can help enforce self-worth, respect, and humanity — especially when it comes to the lives of sex workers. Words count.
The Safe Harbour Outreach Project (SHOP) exists to advocate for the human rights of sex workers in and around St. John’s, and across Newfoundland and Labrador. The women we serve have continuously identified that stigma creates huge barriers to accessing their basic human rights. The collective fight for the human rights of sex workers is a new phenomenon in this province and there are still many challenges to changing the discourse and public perception around the people who engage in sex work.
June 14 has been recognized as a National Day of Action for Sex Worker Rights in Canada to combat dangerous laws and narratives, and today we launch ‘Words Count,’ a bold awareness campaign to make people stop and take stock of the language used to stigmatize sex workers and deny women their agency. Whore, hooker, prostitute, slut. Would you want to be called these words? These and many other weighted words bear down on women in our community every day – women who are parents, volunteers, students, neighbours, teachers, artists, safer sex experts, advocates, and members of our community.
Heather Jarvis, SHOP’s Program Coordinator, on sex work stigma:
“Sex work stigma has real world consequences. It is used to justify actions that infringe on the human rights of sex workers every day, making women’s lives more hazardous and unjust, and at its worst making sex workers disposable. The people we work with are intelligent, resourceful, critical, funny, kind, loving, creative, and come with skills and knowledge. Sex workers are a part of our community. Sex workers belong in our community.”
What can you do?
Challenge discrimination, stereotypes and misconceptions against sex workers, their families and partners. Download and print our campaign poster and help spread awareness in the community. Start a conversation about what you can do to support sex workers in your city. Purchase a ‘Words Count’ t-shirt, with proceeds going to support the work of SHOP. Watch the ‘Words Count’ video below and share it on social media with #EndTheStigmaNL.
CW: This video contains harsh language around sexism, sexuality, stereotyping, and violence and might not be suitable for all ages or individuals. Please engage with it at your own pace.
Vanessa V., local sex worker, on the ‘Words Count’ campaign:
“This is a perfect collage of the stigma that sex workers get because this is how we’re treated by society in general – overwhelmingly negative and with judgment, putting us down as if we’re ‘nobody’ or making us into a ‘bombshell,’ ‘trophy’ stereotype. Ultimately, we’re still made to be a punchline and not seen for the real people we are. The people who say these sorts of things aren’t sex workers, they aren’t my clients, they’re people who are looking at sex work from the outside.”
Take responsibility for your words and your actions. Help end the stigma. Support the Safe Harbour Outreach Project.
Safe Harbour Outreach Project
SHOP provided a statement to be read at the St. John’s Women’s March on Saturday, January 20, 2018:
Safe Harbour Outreach Project is a program of the St. John’s Status of Women Council, where our two-woman team supports and advocates for sex working women and their rights, in and around St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. Our work is rooted in harm-reduction, human rights, social justice, and decriminalization.
We at SHOP are eager to participate in the St. John’s Women’s March 2018. The involvement of sex workers is incredibly meaningful; it was only last year that sex workers endured the erasure of their lives and rights at the Women’s March on Washington. We are proud that our city recognizes that sex workers belong here, because we know that sex workers have been historically left out of international women’s movements.
We know that sex workers are strong advocates, policy makers, and labour rights activists. Sex workers are mothers, environmentalists, entrepreneurs, and fierce business women. Sex workers have been pivotal in the work against human trafficking and sexual exploitation, and must be included in this work. Sex workers have been pioneers of women’s rights, civil rights, and LGBTQ2I rights.
Sex working women must be included in our feminisms. Incarcerated women, Indigenous women, women of colour, immigrant and refugee women. We must look for these voices in the Times Up movement, and in the Me Too movement – and if they aren’t included, we must ask why, and do better. In the name of sharing sex workers voices, and honouring the role sex workers play in the women’s movement, we champion their words:
Last month, trans sex worker Hailey Heartless in B.C. eloquently said, “when we speak about violence against sex workers, we need to tie it back to the core reasons why we’re at risk. Stigma, on top of slut shaming, and whorephobia, is piled on top of other oppressions we disproportionately face: sexism, transphobia, ableism, racism, colonialism and homophobia, to name a few… As an ally, it’s your responsibility to create spaces, not movements. Please speak with us, not for us. Stand beside us, not in front of us. Include us in your movements and let us tell you what we need. Nothing about us, without us.”
And a sex working woman in our city of St. John’s said, “We pay income taxes. We vote. We promote and project equality, empowerment, independence, and self-worth. Our work is consensual. Our work is real work.”
Sex workers have been part of the women’s movement throughout history, even when their work and presence hasn’t been recognized. But let it be known,
We hear you.
We see you.
Posted on behalf of the Canadian Alliance for Sex Work Law Reform –
For Immediate Release
TURN OFF THE SPOTLIGHT: Sex workers and allies urge an end to Operation Northern Spotlight
October 19, 2017, Canada – As part of the hunt for people who “exploit” or purchase services from sex workers, police forces across Canada held their yearly raids between October 11 -15 on sex work establishments that they call Operation Northern Spotlight. These operations include intrusive and intimidating visits to sex workers to their homes and hotels and other places of work, under the auspices of an antitrafficking initiative. In their press release on October 18th (http://www.rcmpgrc.gc.ca/en/news/2017/operation-northernspotlight-vi), the RCMP announced that “police interviewed 324 individuals” who they “suspect to be working in the sex trade against their will, or at high risk of being trafficked”. The criteria by which police assume or determine coercion or risk is unknown, but the proportion of police interviews to the “number of people of people removed from exploitative situations” highlights not only misguided police resources, but
problematic over surveillance and a violation of sex workers’ rights.
Sex workers across the country have reported to our member groups that Operation Northern Spotlight compromises their safety and dignity. The interactions begin with a male or female police officer posing as a client and booking an appointment with a sex worker. Several police officers then appear at the sex worker’s place of work, ostensibly to ensure that no coercion is taking place, but with the impact of intimidating sex workers, violating their right to privacy and putting their confidentiality and safety at risk.
Sex workers across Canada who are victims to this Operation also report feeling confused, frightened, stressed and traumatized after these interactions with police, followed by intense feelings of mistrust in the overall police system.
Operation Northern Spotlight has also undermined sex workers’ health and safety. To avoid the greater scrutiny and law enforcement surveillance, interrogation, harassment, detention, deportation and arrest associated with such campaigns, sex workers are forced to work in greater isolation and secrecy, reducing their capacity to earn money and their ability to negotiate safer working conditions with clients and with third parties.
Campaigns such as Operation Northern Spotlight have intensified an already hostile relationship between sex workers and the police and deterred workers in the sex industry from turning to law enforcement if violence or exploitation occurs. In a survey of Asian sex workers in Toronto and Vancouver, 95 per cent of respondents indicated that they never seek help from law enforcement — even if they experience violence, abuse, harassment or exploitation. In Toronto, not a single respondent indicated that they trusted the police. By alienating sex workers, Operation Northern
Spotlight discourages workers in the sex industry from reporting actual cases of human trafficking to law enforcement, frustrating the ultimate objective of such campaigns. It also diverts much-needed resources to antitrafficking investigations rather than place resources into other forms of services and supports that sex workers need.
Canada’s new criminal sex work laws introduced in December 2014 under the Conservative government’s Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act (PCEPA), that wrongfully equate sex work with sexual exploitation and human trafficking have reinforced antagonistic relationships with the police, interfered with the safety mechanisms that sex workers use to stay safe on the job, and increased stigma and discrimination against sex workers. Operation Northern Spotlight perpetuates the faulty logic of PCEPA and continues to perpetuate great harms on sex workers.
Police repression is one of the primary factors that creates vulnerability to violence. A context of repression makes it equally difficult to report crimes for which sex workers are targeted in an environment of impunity. It contributes to a climate of fear and disdain for sex workers that promotes violence and discrimination. Antitrafficking campaigns that conflate sex work and human trafficking impact all sex workers, and particularly target Indigenous women and migrant sex workers, who already have entrenched antagonistic relationships with law enforcement, and sex workers who work indoors.
The Alliance urges law enforcement to put an end to Operation Northern Spotlight. In addition we ask that police:
• Stop using anti-trafficking programs as a pretext for the intrusion of law enforcement in sex work establishments, including indoor sex work businesses and hotels and on the streets with Indigenous sex workers;
• Review existing anti-trafficking policies and programs that equate sex work with human trafficking, and revise policies to remove assumptions that sex work is a form of human trafficking or sexual exploitation; and
• Provide support for Access without fear/Sanctuary City policies that allow migrants to receive essential services such as health care, without fear of deportation.
If law enforcement is genuine in their efforts to support victims of human trafficking, they must work in collaboration with sex workers to develop best practices to help and support trafficked persons while protecting the safety, dignity and human rights of all individuals in the sex industry.
The Canadian Alliance for Sex Work Law Reform formed in 2012 and is composed of sex worker rights and allied groups and individuals in cities across Canada: Calgary, Edmonton, Hamilton,
London, Longueuil, Montreal, Kingston, Québec, Sault Ste. Marie, St. John’s, Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria, and Winnipeg. Members work together to fight for sex work law reform, sex workers’
rights, and community well-being.
Member Groups of the Canadian Alliance for Sex Work Law Reform:
Angel’s Angels (Hamilton)
Action Santé Travesties et Transexuel(le)s du Québec (ASTTeQ) (Montréal)
BC Coalition of Experiential Communities (Vancouver)
Butterfly Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Network (Toronto)
Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network (Toronto)
Downtown Eastside Sex Workers United Against Violence (SWUAV) (Vancouver)
Maggie’s Toronto Sex Workers Action Project (Toronto)
Maggie’s Indigenous Sex Workers Drum Group (Toronto)
Migrant Sex Workers Project (Toronto)
Projet Lune (Québec)
Prostitutes Involved Empowered Cogent Edmonton (PIECE) (Edmonton)
Providing Alternatives, Counselling and Education (PACE) Society (Vancouver)
Rézo, projet travail du sexe (Montréal)
Safe Harbour Outreach Project (S.H.O.P.) (St. John’s)
Sex Professionals of Canada (SPOC) (Toronto)
Sex Workers Advisory Network of Sudbury (SWANS) (Sudbury)
Stella, l’amie de Maimie (Montreal)
Stop the Arrests! (Sault Ste. Marie)
Supporting Women’s Alternatives Network (SWAN)(Vancouver)
HIV Community Link, Shift Program (Calgary)
West Coast Cooperative of Sex Industry Professionals (WCCSIP) (Vancouver)
Sex Workers of Winnipeg Action Coalition (Winnipeg)
Canadian Alliance for Sex Work Law Reform
Sex Workers, Organizations and Individuals Advocating for Sex Workers’ Rights and Community Well-Being
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 13, 2017
St. John’s Status of Women Council calls for an end to Operation Northern Spotlight
The St. John’s Status of Women Council (SJSWC) and its Safe Harbour Outreach Project (SHOP) are deeply committed to the health, safety, and human rights of women, and trans women involved in the sex industry, including those who are at heightened risk of human trafficking and exploitation. As such, the SJSWC is asking the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary (RNC) and Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to immediately end the practice of Operation Northern Spotlight and all other undercover operations targeting sex workers.
Operation Northern Spotlight is a harmful attempt to deal with a complex issue, that targets sex workers for interrogation, detention and/or arrest, without adequately distinguishing between those who are underage and/or coerced, and those who are not.
This strategy is one that is based on deception and manipulation, as evidenced by police posing as sex workers’ clients in hotel rooms. These actions foster distrust and adversarial relationships with law enforcement. Pulling people out of the sex industry without their consent and penalizing those who do not agree to exit the sex industry does not ‘save’ or ‘rescue’ them. At its worst, it harms sex workers by forcing them underground to evade police. Further, this deters sex workers from turning to the police to report crime that they have witnessed and/or experienced. For women and girls who are at risk of exploitation and human trafficking this practice criminalizes them and perpetuates lack of safety and trust.
Jenny Wright, Executive Director of the St. John’s Status of Women Council:
“We have been working with the police in good faith to find strategies to reduce violence against sex workers and find meaningful ways in which sex workers and the police can work collaboratively. Operation Northern Spotlight has broken that trust.”
‘Rescuing’ individuals who do not wish to be rescued has multiple impacts. Sex workers report being confused and frightened and may suffer trauma and even exhibit symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Sex workers lose income and experience economic hardship. This places sex workers in a precarious position where they must either accept dates or provide services they normally would not. This operation further criminalizes women by increasing their chances of being arrested and detained on non- sex work related charges.
Bridget Clarke, Outreach Worker, Safe Harbour Outreach Project:
“Women we work with at SHOP are confused, angry, and feel threatened by Operation Northern Spotlight. Some women have told us that they are no longer doing outcalls so their working conditions have immediately become less safe.”
Targeting sex workers through approaches that induce fear and increase mistrust of police jeopardizes any chance of cooperation between sex workers and law enforcement. This type of repressive enforcement also threatens the foundation of a collaborative, multi-stakeholder, community-based approach that SJSWC has been working painstakingly towards – in our shared goal of reducing violence against sex workers.
SJSWC joins Ontario and British Columbia advocates in calling for an immediate end to Operation Northern Spotlight, instead we ask that law enforcement:
- Include sex worker voices in any and all work to end human tracking and exploitation;
- Stop using anti-trafficking programs to justify the intrusion of law enforcement in places where consensual sex work is done, including indoor sex work businesses;
- Review existing anti-trafficking policies and programs that equate sex work with human trafficking.
Safe Harbour Outreach Project
About St. John’s Status of Women Council/Women’s Centre
The St. John’s Status of Women Council/Women’s Centre is a feminist organization that since 1972 is continually working to achieve equality and justice through political activism, community collaboration and the creation of a safe and inclusive space for all women in the St. John’s area. The St. John’s Status of Women Council operates the Women’s Centre, Marguerite’s Place Supportive Housing Program and the Safe Harbour Outreach Project.
About Safe Harbour Outreach Project
The Safe Harbour Outreach Project (SHOP) exists to advocate for the human rights of sex workers. SHOP serves women for whom sex work is an occupation; we also serve women who are in the industry not by choice, who are wishing to exit. We provide front line support, system navigation and outreach from a harm reduction approach.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 13, 2017
St. John’s, NL
S.H.O.P. & Happy City St. John’s to host city-wide meetings with innovative Vancouver-based organization on community safety and collaboration
Safe Harbour Outreach Project (S.H.O.P.) and Happy City St John’s are hosting the Living in Community initiative that works to find solutions to the impact of sex work and youth sexual exploitation on communities and to reduce the harms and isolation that sex workers experience. Culminating in a year-long pilot project led by S.H.O.P., several sessions with community groups, government, law enforcement, sex workers and residents will work towards applying the successful Vancouver model for safer communities to St. John’s.
S.H.O.P. and Happy City are also hosting a public information session this evening, which will be an opportunity to hear in detail about Living in Community’s innovative policy work in Vancouver, British Columbia in the aftermath of the tragedy of missing and murdered sex workers in Vancouver’s Downtown East side. Living in Community will outline its experience addressing sex work-related policy and best practices working with residents, neighbourhood groups, business associations, law enforcement, government, health, non-profit organizations, and sex workers to make communities safer for all.
This session will conclude with a Q & A with S.H.O.P. and Living in Community on the ways to adapt lessons and best practices to the St. John’s context, to effectively respond to communities in St. John’s where sex work happens. The session will be at the Crypt (basement) of the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, at 16 Church Hill. The information session is free and physically accessible.
Heather Jarvis, Program Coordinator, Safe Harbour Outreach Project
Lisa Gibson, Director of Living In Community
Living in Community
Living in Community (LIC) is an innovative community initiative that works to find solutions to the impact of sex work and youth sexual exploitation on communities and to reduce the harms and isolation that sex workers experience. LIC recognizes that systemic change only happens when groups work collaboratively – little is achieved when people work in opposition to one another. That’s why our work is directed by a diverse group of representatives such as: residents, neighbourhood houses, business associations, law enforcement, government, health, non-profit organizations and sex workers. Watch LIC’s short video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_9YYJt4Saw
Safe Harbour Outreach Project
As a project of the St. John’s Status of Women Council/Women’s Centre, Safe Harbour Outreach Project (S.H.O.P.) was established in 2013 and is the first and only front-line service supporting women who do sex work in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador and exists to advocate for the human rights of sex workers.
Happy City St. John’s
Happy City is a non-profit organization that aims to help people develop a clear picture of what municipal issues are and to understand what can be done about the challenges we face as a city.