Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Forward by Raven Bowen

This guide was envisioned and created by sex industry workers who are invested in the concept of self-governance. The following is a foundational document wherein workers shared their invaluable lived experiences, which were collapsed into best practices to operate as industry standards. We believe that standards or regulation should come from within the industry and not outside of it.

Sex industry workers have the knowledge, skills and capacity to shape the sex industry into one that prioritizes the health, safety and wellness of those who work within it ,as well as dispelling myths and educating others.

Sex industry workers do not support exploitation, violence, youth involvement or forced involvement (economic or otherwise) in the sex industry. The sex industry, similar to all other industries consists of harms and benefits and it is up to those who work within it to reduce the harms and maximize the benefits.

To this end, adult sex industry workers who cover a range of adult services from adult film to escorts, hustlers to exotic dancers, aim to create working environments and working cultures that adhere to human rights legislation, common law and labour standards. They aim to take control of the industry they work in.

These ideas are based on the operating principles that govern co-operatives -one worker, one vote! Simply put, we want those who work in the sex industry to control the industry and to benefit directly from their labour, history and collective experiences.

The audience for this guide are primarily sex industry workers and stakeholders in the broader community who support self-governance, harm reduction, and the realization of human and labour rights for sex workers. Sex industry workers speak out and take action on issues that affect their lives at great risk, especially within criminalized environments and in the face of groups who work to silence and de-legitimize their contributions.

Projects like these only come to fruition through the generous support of progressive funders and the true grit of sex industry workers. I urge readers to embrace this document and recognize it as a practical guide for sex industry workers and stakeholders and as allegory...we will not be silenced.


Raven R. Bowen
Former Regional Coordinator
BC Coalition of Experiential Communities

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