Research project on women in sex work & trafficking of women & girls in the Yukon & Northwest Territories
The North has four – eight times the national rate of violence against women, and 3.5 – 5 times the provincial average for sexual offenses against women. Our previous work on 2 pan-territorial research projects, indicates that women engage in sex for drugs and housing and that other forms of sex work exist. However, there is no clear picture of the full spectrum and extent of sex work, the determinants specific to the Yukon or conclusive evidence of trafficking of women and girls. The RCMP do not have a clear picture either. Our previous research identified and mapped existing services and programs showing there are no services for women wishing to exit the sex industry, no programs targeting prevention or addressing their specific needs
The project will build on the findings of the Repairing the Holes in the Net (RTHN) and You Just Blink and It Can Happen (2007) projects which outlined the dynamics of women's homelessness in the Yukon, and looked at the response of systems and services to the issue. Homeless women and service providers told their stories and identified gaps, barriers and made recommendations for improvements to services. Those stories revealed some women's involvement in survival sex, exchanging sex for drugs, and partners or drug dealers involving women in sex work. Other stories told of young girls being solicited for sex work or of women being brought from other provinces to work here. It also revealed a lack of specific policy and program responses to the sex industry and trafficking of women and girls.
We have received funding from Status of Women Canada for a 3 year project to:
Objective 1: Conduct baseline research, identify elements & spectrum; analyze findings on the extent, conditions, determinants, dynamics of sex work and trafficking of women and girls in the Yukon & NWT.
Objective 2: Facilitate an inter-sectoral, community approach addressing the issue between decision makers, women with lived experience, service providers to provide safe effective services, improved policies and programs, and collaborative action to reduce violence.
These two objectives will be carried out in several phases over a 3 year timeframe. Methodology would follow a participatory action research model building a Community of Practice to support the research team and act upon findings and include women with lived experience in all phases of the project.