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Business Loans Fund

The WCCSIP have recently received a generous gift from TENEMOS Benevolent Society and have revised our approach to funding the various enterprises proposed by Vancouver Sex Industry Workers.

Once again learning from sex workers in India, the WCCSIP have decided to create a fund against which sex workers, WCCSIP members, can borrow money to open buinsesses. Rather than raise money just to spend it, WCCSIP members felt a “business loans fund” could leave a lasting legacy that could improve the qualilty of life of sex workers for years to come.

With this gift and new focus, it was agreed that a bank account should be opened and that fund raising for the “business loans fund” should begin.

To ensure security of these funds on a temporary basis it was agreed that 2 people sign, the director and chairman of the board, and minutes from a board meeting directing any action, would be required for any withdrawals. It was also noted that a more concise structure for “business loans fund” applications approval would be required to ensure a fair process in the future. WCCSIP members agreed that a mentorship program with the business communtity and supports for sex workers creating business plan applications for funding would be crutial to ensure their success but that building the capitol within the fund could begin right away.

Until now, there has been no mechanisms for Canada’s First Sex Worker Cooperative to accept donations or a clear direction as to what these donations will be used for.


During the Developing Capacity for Change Project, in 2006 Vancouver sex workers expressed their desire to explore cooperative business models as a way to generate alternative sources of income, increase health and safety, build community capacity and begin to take control of our collective destiny.

Vancouver sex workers from many genres of the sex industry including the downtown eastside community have been working hard to create a framework for this cooperative and have finalized governance policies, decision making procedures, terms of reference, membership criteria, code of conduct, and conflict management procedures that reflect what they envision as a community.

The cooperative membership reflects the diversity of the sex working community as it includes women, men and trans-individuals as well as those from different ‘classes’ and varying capacities and abilities.

More specifically, sex workers engaged are multi-literate and culturally diverse. First Nations, Asian, Caucasian, and Black workers and workers of mixed race are currently invested.   We were formally incorporated in February of 2008.

The plans defined by sex workers themselves for their cooperative included a number of enterprises such as plans intended to create alternative income sources for sex industry workers wishing to exit and of course the controversial cooperative safe work site other wise known as the cooperative brothel/ .

For 2 ½ years the WCCSIP tried to secure funding for development of a food manufacturing and dinner theater enterprise based on the history of sex work museum exhibit created by sex workers and in partnership Simon Fraser University. We had hoped to have that enterprise going for the Olympics so sex workers displaced by security zones could have a chance to earn some money during the games; however, we were unable to complete the project due to a lack of funding.

This action could have developed into a self sustaining exciting revenue generating opportunity to pay people working in the various aspects of the enterprise and given them an chance to earn money outside of the sex industry while gaining the confidence and experience they need to compete for employment in the mainstream job market.

Unfortunately, funding for sex workers is often a low priority. We are always last in line and the first to get cut. The proposals submitted by the WCCSIP have been turned down so we have begun exploring other ways of supporting WCCSIP business development initiatives.