“I got involved in the sex trade when I was 15 years old in [city in BC] because my parents put me in a group home, and then from there they wouldn't take me, they signed me over to the Ministry for Children and Family. I was kind of left on the street with nowhere to go.”
The Community Action Team has been providing vital outreach support to women in the community since 2009. The philosophy of the services is to work with individuals from a non-judgemental perspective and support them with making healthier choices regardless of lifestyle. The CAT is available to provide one to one support for individuals who are impacted by sexual exploitation or sex trafficking.
We have a two pronged approach: outreach and community safety reporting. In our outreach component we increase women’s safety and access to justice services, social and medical supports. Our community reporting involves providing information in a variety of ways that alert women and other community members to active safety risks, especially violent dates.
CAT team members will provide referrals, rides to health and social service resources, condoms and harm reduction supplies and information, and one to one support and crisis intervention. Individual women can regularly connect with an outreach worker for a variety of supports. This included the provision of basic needs items such as clothing, warm blankets, drinks (hot and cold), water for hydration, health and hygiene kits, condoms and lube, boost and other dietary supplements.
A huge safety concern is the Fentanyl crisis and the amount of bad street drugs in the community. As a response to this our outreach workers are trained to use Narcan and carry it with them when they provide outreach.
Facilitating connections to medical interventions has become key to keeping women safe.
What is a Bad Date?
The term “bad date” is used to describe an episode of violence enacted upon a sex worker, as well as incidents of theft, refusal of payment, threats, rudeness, time wasting, harassment, aggressive behaviour etc. Basically, anyone you’d want to help other sex workers avoid or warn them about.
How do I report a bad date?
The Nanaimo Women’s Centre has a Bad Date drop box in the washroom in collaboration with the RCMP. All submissions are completely anonymous and help warn others to avoid certain areas or descriptions of individuals to stay safe.