FIRST

Location

Vancouver
Canada
Contact email: 
joycearthur@shaw.ca
Who do you work with?: 
We work with female, male and transgender sex workers, clients, managers, partners and children of sex workers.
How are sex workers involved in your organisation?: 
We are a collation of sex worker groups and allied groups and feminist individuals who are sex workers, former sex workers or allies of sex workers. We support and advocate for sex workers at their direction
Which of NSWP priority areas does your organisation work on?: 
Oppose the criminalisation and other legal oppression of sex work and support its recognition as work
Critique the trafficking paradigm that conflates representations of sex work, migration, and mobility
Advocate for universal access to health services, including primary health care, HIV and sexual and reproductive health services
Speak out about violence against sex workers, including violence from police, institutions, clients, and intimate partners, while challenging the myth that sex work is inherently gender-based violence
Oppose human rights abuses, including coercive programming, mandatory testing, raids and forced rehabilitation
Challenge stigma and discrimination against sex workers, their families and partners, and others involved in sex work
Advocate for the economic empowerment and social inclusion of sex workers as sex workers
What are the two main challenges that the sex workers you work with face: 
Arbitrary and sometimes heavy-handed law enforcement that conflicts with and sets back the work that FIRST and other groups are doing to foster a better relationship between police and sex workers. Countering damaging prohibitionist rhetoric around sex work and the so-called Swedish model that they are pushing in Canada.
Describe other areas of your work: 
We hold occasional public forums, operate a successful listserv and Facebook page and produce evidence-based papers on pressing issues affecting sex workers.