Sex Worker Drop-In

Peel Sex Worker Drop-In Details

Currently the Drop-In is hosted at John Howard Society 134 Main St N Brampton ON. Drop In meets in the board room on Mondays between 10am – Noon.
The drop in provides light snacks and refreshments, harm reduction supplies, a clothing exchange once every 8 weeks, hosts a public health nurse once a month for questions and testing and invites community partners 1-2 times a month to provide information on services and workshops on mental health, addictions, budgeting and housing. A calendar of events is posted on PHAN’s website as well as on location at PHAN, John Howard Society & Redemption.

Click here for the September Drop-In Schedule.

Background

In September 2014 Peel HIV/AIDS Network began hosting a sex worker drop-in at the John Howard Society as part of a P.A.T.C.H initiative. The drop-in hosted by a Peer Worker with lived experience once a week, was aimed to help reach vulnerable women currently in the sex trade to have access to health care, support services and housing.

The drop in is run collaboratively with John Howard Society and Peel HIV/AIDS Network. It is hosted weekly at the John Howard Society in Brampton. Weekly attendance has doubled and we invite more individuals to attend.

The drop-in, originally intended to be exclusive for street based sex workers is currently seeing women who may not necessarily identify as sex workers however are dealing with multiple complex needs and need a supportive space to gather and access resources.

The first group was hosted in the 2nd week of September in 2014 and had 6 women in attendance. The majority of the women attending identified as living in poverty, seniors, those reliant on ODSP & OW, sex workers, those experiencing addictions and mental health issues and homeless women. Sept 2015 – Feb 2016 the drop in saw upwards of 16 women in attendance.

Testimonials from Attendees of Peel Sex Worker Drop-In:

“It’s hard to get off the streets when the region of peel refuses to help because they are too busy. There is no one to help look with you (for apartments), take you for appointments and welfare doesn’t pay enough. There needs to be more support for women like me”
61 years old. 6 years homeless – Brampton survival sex worker

“When I got out of jail I had to live with a client. He was an awful man but I had nowhere else to go. The group connected me with John Howard staff that helped me to get welfare and a place to go. When I want to get off the streets, stop working, stop using no one is available, the group was there for me.”
34 years old. Living in motel previously, Peel Street Level Sex Worker

“They had someone who understood my struggle because they survived it themselves. I believe in myself because I see what I can become. It’s hard to trust people who don’t know the lifestyle”
41 years old. GTA Street Level Sex Worker

“There is so few services available for women and sex workers that I had to ask to go to prison so I could get help, get straight (off drugs) and get out of the cold. I was dying outside, sleeping on a cardboard box, turning tricks and smoking crack. Now the women’s group is helping me to find somewhere to live and a reason to try”
47 years old. GTA Street Level Sex Worker

“I was in a crisis and needed someone, our group ends at 12pm on Monday and it happened (my partner physically attacked me) on a Tuesday. The girl who runs our group answered my call and connected me to a safe place to go even though it wasn’t during group. I didn’t trust anyone else to help me, I didn’t want my children involved or anyone I knew. If she hadn’t of answered I would have had nowhere to go”
42 years old

To Access Bad Date List or Make a bad date report:

Maggie’s No List

Bad Date Coalition

Access the Needs Assessment PDF here. Please note that the Needs Assessment is still in the editing stage and is not yet ready for distribution.