Thanks for your email. As you know, the questions you raise are not easily answered but are important starting points for learning and action. I have learned a lot from experts like Leanne and others who have direct experience providing services and supports to the women (predominantly) described in the continuum you discussed below.
I do know that where progress is being made those communities are using a "four pillar" approach which
balances prevention, treatment (provision of services), harm reduction and enforcement. To get there we will need a concerted effort by all levels of government, the broader public sector, the private sector and the non-profit sector. It will take time, talent and funding to make progress.
I am away from the office today and tomorrow but will connect with you directly to look at how we can build neighbourhoods that are safe for everyone.
Thanks again for reaching out to me and I will be in touch very soon.
Director, Neighbourhood Development Strategies
The email below was sent by Gary Santucci (and shared with The Hamiltonian), to Paul Johnson and copied to a number of others including city council and other media sources. It discusses the very serious issue of sex trade workers who work on the streets. In tandem, award winning journalist Susan Clairmont of The Hamilton Spectator, wrote this piece (click here) or purchase the print version, that reminds us of the real people who find themselves on the tragic end of this continuum.
CHML also did a broadcast with Santucci and others, which can be heard here
Here is Gary's email:
In light of Ms Priel's most recent email, I'm taking the initiative to open the lines of communication with you so that we may share our collective expertise and efforts towards the very serious problem of street prostitution in our core neighbourhoods and beyond. In a recent panel discussion on 900 CHML's Bill Kelly Show with guest host Jamie West, Leanne Kilby, Executive Director of the Elizabeth Fry Society Hamilton, gave an overview of the sex trade workers who work on the streets. She referred to this overview as the sex trade continuum that explained how women end up on the street offering sexual acts for money. Her expert remarks may be considered a starting point for the City's Strategic Plan component that deals with street prostitution within the context of your neighbourhood work
The Continuum is as follows;
1. Survival Sex - Potentially homeless and broke financially with no opportunity
2. Single Mother - unable to provide for her children
3. Drug Addiction - selling sex to support a drug habit
4. Mental illness - to be determined
5. Educated very successful financially and have chosen the sex trade as a career
At first glance Ms Kilby's list of women found in categories 1- 4 appears incomprehensible given the tens of millions of dollars that fund our social services safety net. Have they fallen through the cracks? Is this the best we can do for women who find themselves in one or more the categories that Ms Kilby has defined? If both the Police and the Elizabeth Fry Society know the sad predicament that these women find themselves then why are our governmental and non governmental social service delivery agencies so ineffective in the delivery of services in the case of street prostitution? What possible barriers might exist that prevent vulnerable women from seeking and receiving the help that they need? Perhaps you may be able to shed some light on those possible systemic inequities that may or may not exist.
Category number 5. would seem to fall under the current court rulings and appeal on prostitution. If the ruling stands give them a business license, put them under a regime of regulation like any other business; paying taxes and collecting taxes.
Ms Kilby did not specifically mention women involved in an exploitative relationship with organized criminals and pimps, who may in fact be victims of human trafficking. This category would of course fall under the purview of law enforcement
If the system is broken it needs repair. How many more tragic stories will find their beginnings on the streets of our City. The following articles are very disturbing. Felicia Floriani a 15 year old child in the care of the Good Shepherd's Brennan House at King and Ashley is found in a field 10 years after her disappearance; really a sex trade worker, I think not but rather a troubled child exploited and abused. Will we find a "Robert Pictonesque killing farm" in our midst?
On behalf of our neighbours and business people in Landsdale, we are ready to get to work and join you at the table to advance your efforts. We look forward to hearing from you to begin the process.
Vice President LANA
Founding Member Prostitution Roundtable 2010