Parliamentary secretary’s statement on International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers
Kelli Paddon, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity, has released the following statement in recognition of the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers:
“Today, I join people worldwide to rally for an end to violence against sex workers. This day is also known as Red Umbrella Day, the red umbrella being a symbol of resistance to discrimination and defending the human rights of all sex workers.
“Violence against people doing sex work remains prevalent in our communities throughout B.C., with women, Indigenous people, racialized people, transgender and non-binary people, those with disabilities, newcomers and undocumented people being at greater risk of being targeted with violence.
“We also know that stigma and criminalization against sex workers can contribute to barriers in reporting assaults and accessing supports.
“We stand with those who have faced violence and we remain committed to addressing gender-based violence and discrimination in British Columbia. That is why we are developing an action plan to end gender-based violence. Our plan is guided by Indigenous partners, survivors, experts and advocates to ensure all survivors, including sex workers, have equitable access to the supports and services they need when they decide to come forward.
“I would also like to recognize the important work of community organizations around the province, such as PACE Society in Vancouver, which has received provincial funding to support emergency sexual-assault services.
“In addition, the WISH Drop-In Centre Society received funding for health, educational, employment and harm-reduction supports for sex workers. The society’s drop-in centre is open every night of the year. WISH also opened doors to Canada’s first-ever 24/7 emergency shelter for sex workers.
“And organizations, such as Peers Victoria, which was founded by and for sex workers to provide supports and services.
“All people have a right to be treated with respect and dignity, to be safe in their homes and workplaces, to be free from violence and with equal access to supports and justice.
“On this important day, I stand with sex workers, their families and friends as an ally in calling for an end to the violence that remains all too prevalent here in B.C. and in communities throughout the world.”