Standing up and speaking out
The life of a sex worker can be physically and emotionally wracking. Tina Haynes knows this first hand.
"When I worked the streets, I was assaulted twice, the first time at gun-point. I didn't report it to the police for fear of being arrested. There was no one I could talk to, no one who wouldn't judge me. I didn't trust anyone. Things got out of control with drugs until I found St. Stephen's."
Our Toronto Community Addiction Team helped Tina curb her addiction and provided the emotional support she needed. But more than that, it gave her direction. With the help of our Community Development and Social Action program, she advocates for a better life for female sex workers.
As a member of the Corner Drop-in Member Advocacy Committee, Tina is working to improve drop-in spaces for women. "Shelters are too restrictive. Working girls can't come and go or sleep there during the day. We need an all-women space to go for a few hours."
In April 2014, Tina gave a powerful speech to Toronto's Community Development and Recreation Committee. Her strong message encouraged the committee to send the item to the City's Budget committee meeting in August with a request for funding.
"I'm speaking out and doing what I can. For the first time in a long time, I'm hopeful about my future, and the future of others like me."