Programming Connection

Sex Workers Program 

RÉZO
Montreal, Quebec
2010

Required Resources

Human resources

  • 1 program coordinator
  • 5 full-time outreach workers for on-site outreach (street work) and drop-in centre support
  • 1 part-time outreach worker for on-site outreach (street work)
  • 2 on-call relief workers for on-site outreach (street work) and drop-in centre support

RÉZO currently recruits candidates for these positions who have completed a post-secondary degree in social work, preferably with a specialization in sexology, psychology or a related field, and who have at least two years experience working with disenfranchised youth. Staff must be comfortable working in a variety of settings, including the street, peep shows, bars and other areas where sex work takes place. This non-exit-based sex work program requires staff who approach work in a nonjudgmental manner with a focus on harm reduction.

Ideally, program staff should have a deep understanding of the challenges related to sex work based on personal experience in the sex trade or experience working with sex workers. Currently there are no peer outreach workers on the RÉZO staff. For strong candidates who have strong skills but who lack training and experience specific to sex work, RÉZO recommends UQAM’s course on street work and social work as well as trainings and other programs run by the Association of Quebec Streetworkers (ATTRueQ) and the Health and Social Services Agency of Montreal.

Material resources

  • A venue with a confidential address to hold an evening drop-in centre
  • Comfortable seating, tables and a kitchen
  • Personal hygiene products (soap, deodorant, razors, shaving cream, etc.)
  • Centre location information cards that specify that the address should remain confidential
  • Safer-sex and drug use literature and resources (condoms, lube, clean needles, alcohol swabs, sterile water, crack kits, etc.) for distribution at the centre and during on-site outreach (street work)
  • Food for meals at the centre and for distribution during drop-in hours
  • Clean socks and underwear
  • Donated clothes (particularly winter coats, sweaters, hats and gloves)
  • Computer with Internet access and a telephone so that sex workers can search for employment, prepare a résumé and communicate with family
  • Television, DVD player

Financial resources

The number of sex workers who are reached during the outreach component of the program and who visit the drop-in centre will determine the cost of the program in any one year. Not including staff salaries, the program costs approximately $100,000 per year. This includes payment for: centre rent, food, transportation of food to and from the centre, centre maintenance and other health supplies, office supplies and other miscellaneous costs.

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