Stepping Stone

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Location

Halifax, Nova Scotia
Canada
Contact email: 
kathleen.pyke@steppingstonens.ca
Who do you work with?: 
We work with female, male and transgendered current and former sex workers. When possible we can provide services and support to youth and families of those involved in sex work.
How are sex workers involved in your organisation?: 
Sex workers are staff, board members, volunteers and members.
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
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: 
The criminalization of sex work or aspects of it, along with the misconceptions being forced by Canadian government that all sex workers are victims of human trafficking in need of 'rescue'. Also, the barriers which sex workers face in accessing social services and health services due to the stigma attached to the work they do.
Describe other areas of your work: 
Stepping Stone provides critical services to a marginalized population. Our drop-in centre is a hub of activity with various monthly programs which sex workers identify the need for. Peer support, anonymous HIV testing, medical professionals, housing support, advocacy and referrals are all offered at our drop-in. We also provide court support and outreach services, all of which are done from a harm-reduction model.