Thursday, January 06, 2005


Underbelly News
Downtown Eastside

January, 6, 2005

For Immediate Release


Vancouver, B.C.

Sex worker advocate Jamie Lee Hamilton is being critical of government funded sex trade worker organizations which in this recent cold snap haven't extended their hours of operation or even opened at all.

"Leaving prostitutes out in the cold is not an option, claims Ms Hamilton. Hamilton is especially concerned that PACE, which is located in the heart of the Franklin/Glen stroll, hasn't been opening regularly. Before Christmas, PACE, opened only on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday for a limited number of hours and this isn't acceptable for an orgnization which receives 90 hours of weekly funding for paid staff wages".

Since it started snowing today, you would think PACE, would have opened, yet they remain closed and are not even responding to telephoone messages.

"This is troubling since PACE and WISH, another sex worker organization, have secured $250,000 for an outreach program and another million dollars was earmarked to WISH for a 24/7 drop-in. One would logically think during this extreme cold weather snap, that staff and board members could juggle hours, ensuring street involved women have a resource they can access 24 hours a day", states Hamilton.

Today Jan 6, 2004, Ms Hamilton contacted the executive director of WISH and requested that WISH extend its hours so women could get in out of the cold from the freezing temperatures enveloping Vancouver. The executive director responded this was not possible. Hamilton wonders why an organization which has received one million dollrs for a 24/7 drop-in couldn't jiggle things for a short period of time to ensure women have some resource other than the street, during this period of unusual harsh winter conditions.

Jamie Lee Hamilton of Change the Code Canada, a national group committed to prostitution law reform will bring these issues up before Minister Stephen Owen in a meeting scheduled with her and other former sex workers for Jan 19, 2005.

"Far to often, publicly funded organizations in the Downtown Eastside haven't demonstrated accountability and this must stop, says Hamilton. Since Minister Owen is the senior minister responsible for Vancouver Agreement dollars, it is hoped his genuine concern for the safety and well being of sex trade workers will result in change", states Ms Hamilton.

For further info contact Jamie Lee at (604) 781-3361