Moncton to get first-of-its-kind resource centre for sex-trade workers
It's estimated 70 to 80 people are involved in the sex trade in Moncton.
The number is even higher, because many people don't access services which would identify them as sex-trade workers.
In four to six weeks, there's hope that will change when a new centre opens its doors.
“The centre has been a dream of the Sex Workers Action Group for several years now,” said Dr. Susan Crouse, the Salvus Clinic executive director. “It was identified as being one of the most needed in the community.”
The centre is in partnership with the YMCA Reconnect program, the Salvus Clinic, the YWCA, and multiple other organizations.
The idea is not to steer people away from the sex-trade industry, but to provide a safe haven.
“When I talk to the individuals who will be accessing the center, I asked them ‘what would you like to see in the community? What is your hope from this?’” said Jenn Frederics, the YWCA’s housing team lead. “It's a safe place for them to go where they feel a sense of belonging, they feel worthy.”
It will include hot showers, meals, and counsellors specifically trained in trauma.
Ward 2 Coun. Charles Leger, part of the Sex Workers Action Group, or SWAG, says he wanted to help find a more permanent solution after he saw activity taking place in his jurisdiction.
“What this does is it allows a space that they know is there all the time,” Leger said.
The city of Moncton has donated $50,000 towards the centre.
Organizers who are helping make this centre a reality say they also want to eliminate the large stigma attached to workers in the sex trade. They say this is not a career any male or female wakes up wanting to do, but rather, it’s a mode of survival.
“They're trying their best to manage their situation,” said Lisa Ryan, the YMCA’s outreach senior director. “I think it’s really important that we recognize that this is not the fault of the individual, more often than not it’s the fault of the system that we've created.”
The exact location of the centre isn't being disclosed, however, it will be in downtown Moncton.
The hope is for opening day to be sometime next month.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kate Walker.