For Immediate Release by the BCCEC
On Feb.5, 2008, Canadian Sex Industry Workers led by the BC Coalition of Experiential Communities made history and took control of their collective destinies as the West Coast Cooperative of Sex Industry Professionals officially became incorporated - Canada’s first sex industry worker cooperative.
We plan to heal as a community of sex industry workers and work toward increased choice, stabilization of sex industry and a broad implementation of cooperative and collaborative business models in the sex industry for workers.
In addition to federal legislation, every municipality in Canada has bylaws to govern the sex industry and each small collective of sex industry workers in these locations have specific needs.
Cooperative business models allow each unique group of workers to self-determine and create for themselves a foundation and a unique enterprise from which sex workers can promote and sell products or services, engage in community economic development in tandem with increasing their health, safety, stability and economic security.
The Cooperative development team for this B.C. initiative was comprised of women, men and transgendered individuals from different ‘classes’ who varied in capacity but all were united in a shared vision of community development and restoration.
More specifically, the sex industry workers currently invested are multi-literate and are culturally diverse; inclusive of First Nations peoples, Asian, Caucasian, Black industry workers and those of mixed race.
Over the past six months this team of sex industry workers has created governance policies; decision-making procedures; membership criteria; a code of conduct; and completed all the necessary steps to ensure incorporation.
Plans for an Adult Sex Industry Association to stabilize safe working environments in addition to minimum occupational health and safety standards are underway.
This next stage of development will create a complaints process and a system of branding or certification for sex industry professionals and their venues.
This will differentiate businesses that prioritize the health and safety of workers from those that do not in addition to reducing the blanket criminalization of all sex industry venues which in turn causes widespread destabilization, displacement and harm to workers and the systemic elimination all work place options for Canadian Sex Industry Workers.
To all those who said sex workers lacked capacity, we stand strong and resolve:
To be active in creating our own destinies
To no longer be ‘represented’ by those who construct us as criminals and exclude us from actions that affect us
To legitimize adult voluntary sex work as labor and condemn exploitation and violence as hate crimes
To build sex worker controlled work environments
To end our legislative and social oppression