Archive for the ‘sex work’ Category

June 2 is International Sex Workers’ Day. In 1975, hundreds of sex workers gathered in Lyon, France, to protest their increasingly unsafe working conditions and the violence they were experiencing. Now, in 2017, more than 40 years later, we are still advocating for sex workers’ rights and safety. To recognize this day and bring awareness […]

The day originated in 2001, when over 25,000 sex workers gathered in India for a sex worker festival, despite efforts from prohibitionist groups who tried to prevent it taking place by pressuring the government to revoke their permit. The event was organised by Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee, a Calcutta based group that has over 50,000 […]

Sex Work and Language, why does it matter?

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Language shapes the way we perceive the world around us, how we interact with it, and how others respond in return. If we want to provide the best possible care and support to sex workers, exploring our use of language is a great place to start. Shift provides support and advocacy services for sex workers […]

! This article contains graphical depictions of violence and potentially traumatic subject matter In Calgary, it is estimated that there are 1000-3000 sex workers, and less than 10% of the sex work occurs on the streets. Sex workers experience a higher rate of violence than non-sex workers, and a primary reason for people accessing Shift […]

Shift Calgary and the Calgary Police Service are long-term partners in assisting victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. As a program of HIV Community Link, Shift Calgary supports sex workers regardless of intent to leave the sex industry. We believe that it is of utmost importance to make the distinction between sex work and […]

TRANSforming Support Services

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The marginalizing of people who self-identify as transgender and in sex work is dangerously compounded by the societal stigma attached to sex workers — putting people at an even greater risk of violence. Shift is committed to pushing back and here for support and advocacy.

At Shift, we don’t spend a whole lot of time talking about human trafficking.

In 2014, we provided ongoing support and case management to 125 registered program clients; only a handful of these individuals had experienced trafficking. In the 8 year history of Shift, people experiencing human trafficking and other forms of sexual exploitation have remained a small minority of the individuals we support.

When Bill C-36 (The Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act) was first proposed the Shift Line phone was ringing off the hook. And honestly, it hasn’t stopped ringing. Sex workers are confused, upset, frustrated, and in general unsure how this new law is going to affect their lives. Many of the people who call us care about following the law and avoiding criminal charges, but these laws are so vague that they just can’t figure out what they can and cannot do.

Why I Choose the Shift Program

Friday, March 6, 2015

As I began my search for a practicum I knew that that finding a harm reduction program was top priority. In a sea of abstinence based programs in Calgary, I was ecstatic to find the Shift program, a pro-choice, client centered, program for adults who have ever been involved in sex work.

At this year’s International AIDS Conference, held in Melbourne Australia, sex work was a hot topic. This open discussion of sex work in relation to HIV/AIDS and human rights was long overdue, as sex workers felt ignored at the same conference held in the US last year.