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