Rape Relief's work with women in prostitution

Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter (VRRWS) is the longest-standing rape crisis centre in Canada. Since 1973, we’ve been offering aid to tens of thousands of women who have been victims of male violence, including rape, wife assault and prostitution. Most collective members historically and currently are women who have been victims to male violence including prostitution.

VRRWS’ services are available to all women who have experienced male violence. We regularly provide assistance to women and girls in prostitution who have been assaulted by johns, pimps or men pressuring them into prostitution. We provide assistance to women who are currently being prostituted, women who are trying to escape prostitution, and women who have been trafficked into prostitution. The kinds of front line support that VRRWS provides to women and girls in prostitution include crisis line support, transitional housing, accompanying women to the police, and helping them find immediate relief when faced with a situation of violence.

We understand prostitution as sexual exploitation and male violence against women. Prostitution normalizes the subordination of women in a sexualized form. It exploits and compounds systemic inequality on the basis of sex, Aboriginality, race, poverty, age and disability. Our analysis of prostitution as harmful patriarchal institution and our commitment to abolition derive from, and reinforced by the prostituted women who call us and the members of our own collective who’ve exited prostitution.