Who do you work with?:
Located in the capital city of St. John's, Newfoundland, we serve women for whom sex work is an occupation and women who are not in the industry by choice in our area. We support anyone with lived experience in the sex industry.
How are sex workers involved in your organisation?:
This programme was developed in direct response to the self-identified needs of sex workers in our community. Sex workers access our support services, our supplies and inform our work as a programme. We are working towards being a sex worker-led organisation.
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:
Prior to the formation of S.H.O.P there was no sex worker support or advocacy services in this province. The women we serve have continuously identified that stigma creates huge barriers to accessing basic human rights. The collective fight for the human rights of sex workers is a new phenomenon in this province and there are many challenges to changing the discourse and public perception around the people who engage in sex work. Individuals fight this in their everyday lives and S.H.O.P does a great deal of education and advocacy around stigma reduction.
Describe other areas of your work:
S.H.O.P believes in the value of sex workers and their self-determination, the power of harm reduction and the pursuit of social justice. We believe that decriminalisation is the first step towards access to human and labour rights and stigma reduction for sex workers. S.H.O.P is a proud member of the Canadian Alliance for Sex Work Law Reform. Our programme also helps run an anonymous, 24/7 toll-free phone line called Warn Other Workers (WOW) that sex workers can call to share information about assaults or get direct support from a crisis line volunteer.