August 4, 1997.

103 - 2145 West Broadway
Vancouver, BC V6K 4L3

Re: Pleasure and Pain - Inside the Sex Trade

It's good to hear that Cynthia was able to get herself out of the sex trade. But many of us who work in the sex industry are not "repulsed" by the work or the sex. I would question Cynthia's motives for wanting to "get prostitutes off the streets of Vancouver." Rather than looking for a job trying to save prostitutes, Cynthia should start a soup kitchen, hand out blankets and gloves in the wintertime. It's immoral to try to make a job out "keeping track of," "counselling" and stigmatizing a group of people.

Prostitution is not a social problem it's a workers' rights issue. Considering the dismal employment picture and depressed economy prostitution for many people IS the solution. Working "inside" as an escort or in massage parlours or out of an apartment is safer than a secluded parking lot. You have access to hot water and soap, showers, condoms, lube, antiseptic. There is a decent security system. Why try to disrupt this shift, if it were in fact happening?

The Sex Workers Alliance of Vancouver has had a long-standing discreet relationship with The West Ender. Tom Zillich wrote a story on us in February, 1995. SWAV has distributed pamphlets such as "Oil Eats Rubbers" and "Nonoxynol-9: Is it a No-No?," as well as the Bad Call List and the SWAV newsletter. These publications have been made available from time to time at the Classifieds desk of The West Ender. SWAV also does regular mailings to the massage parlours as well as its mailing list of independent sex workers. Last summer during the XI International Conference on AIDS, SWAV hosted the International Network of Sex Work Projects.

SWAV was founded in 1994 in response to the Shame the Johns campaign in Mount Pleasant. SWAV fights for sex workers rights to fair wages and safe clean and healthy working conditions. SWAV is not an agency of the government nor does it receive any government funding.

Raigen D'Angelo
Sex Workers Alliance of Vancouver


Published letter... [SWAV Letters] [Rights Groups]

Created: August 8, 1997
Last modified: March 6, 1999
SWAV Sex Workers Alliance of Vancouver
Box 3075, Vancouver, BC V6B 3X6
Tel: +1 (604) 488-0710