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West End memorial to honour sex workers unveiled

September 16 2016

West End memorial to honour sex workers unveiled

Today, the West End Sex Workers Memorial Committee with support from the City, unveiled a memorial at the corner of Jervis and Pendrell Streets to honour the lives of sex workers who were adversely affected by municipal actions taken in the mid-1980s in Vancouver's West End that were intended to secure community safety.

The City of Vancouver acknowledges these actions displaced sex workers, creating additional conditions of vulnerability, stigma and harm as well as moved sex work to other neighbourhoods.

Memorial represents commitment to inclusiveness 

The spirit of this memorial affirms the our ongoing commitment to develop inclusive, equitable responses to the impacts of sex work that do not infringe on the rights, safety or dignity of any resident or community.

Today, we prioritizes the health and safety of all residents and we practice a coordinated and balanced approach to sex work that considers the needs of the whole community.

West End Sex Workers Memorial Committee

In 2008, the West End Sex Workers Memorial Committee was co-founded by Indigenous trans sex work activist Jamie Lee Hamilton and UBC professor Becki Ross with a mandate to commemorate  a community of sex workers, with diverse cultural and gender identities, who were expelled from the Vancouver's West End through a BC Supreme Court injunction in July 1984.

For the past two years, they have worked in close partnership with the City of Vancouver and St. Paul's Anglican Church, to establish a Memorial. The City provided funding of $28,000 for the memorial which equals the total dollar amount in fines that was imposed on sex workers as a result of the City's street activities bylaw in 1982.