Amnesty International has released a new report highlighting the routine use of rape, violence and torture by police to punish women sex workers in the Dominican Republic. The report - ‘If they can have her, why can’t we?’ - uses testimony from 46 Dominican cisgender and transgender women sex workers, and reports them suffering various forms of violence at the hands of police.
The assessment was conducted using a community-based research approach in order for it to be an accurate reflection of street-based sex work. The research team consisted of staff members from the Regent Park Community Health Centre and Street Health and community members who were previously involved in sex work. The survey tool was developed and approved for use by the network of sex workers from Barrie, York Region, Peterborough and Toronto in Canada. A standardised set of questions with some closed and open ended questions was included in the survey. Former sex workers from the community were involved as co-researchers and conducted face to face interviews with current sex workers.
Labour standards and occupational health and safety have been the rights of Canadian Workers for over 100 years. The sex industry and its workers have however never enjoyed the privileges of being acknowledged for providing a safe work space or been able to complain about dangerous conditions. This has forced the system at large to impose what it believes is right for sex industry workers with disastrous results for decades in the BC/Yukon region. The need for a community based process through which the sex industry can govern itself and have input to its future and stability has never been more urgent.
The BC Coalition of Experiential Women was funded to explore working conditions of off street municipally licensed massage parlors and escort agencies. A series of three focus groups were conducted with individuals employed in these venues as well as those who work primarily on street. This report presents the findings of these interviews.