City of Nanaimo addresses safety of sex trade workers

NANAIMO – Council approves one-time grant of $7,000 to begin peer-based program

City council approved a one-time grant of $7,000 Monday to the Nanaimo Women’s Resource Centre to improve the safety of sex trade workers while providing opportunities to exit the profession.

In May, city council, staff and RCMP met with a group of social agencies and former sex trade workers from Victoria and Nanaimo to discuss the safety needs and vulnerability of sex trade workers, and it was decided peer-based programming would be the best approach.

The Safer Nanaimo Advisory Committee has also been exploring the issue, including how the presence of sex trade workers affect neighbourhoods, and on a provincial level former Attorney General Wally Opal recently released The B.C. Missing Women Commission of Enquiry, a report aimed at protecting sex trade workers from predatory individuals.

The money will come out of revenue generated by Casino Nanaimo.

We started down this path by anticipating former Attorney General Wally Opal would be making recommendations about how municipalities have an obligation to help protect the lives of women who are in an extremely dangerous line of work,” said Coun. Diane Brennan. “This is just a tiny little baby step, but it is something that we did anticipate.”

The Nanaimo Women’s Resource Centre has agreed to administer the project and will be responsible for monitoring expenditures and reporting back to Safer Nanaimo.

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