GRANT 169:

Bad Date Coalition

11/30/2015

A social action group dedicated to improving safety for people involved in sex work.

The Bad Date Coalition (BDC) is a Toronto-based social action group dedicated to improving safety for people involved in sex work. They believe that sex workers, like all workers, are entitled to safe and dignified working conditions, and that reducing stigma is essential for eliminating violence against sex workers. The group was established in 2004 out of a need to address the high levels of injustice and violence faced by sex workers and to bring like minded people together to work for change. Currently, the coalition is comprised of over 100 members representing current and former sex workers, frontline workers, activists, students, social service workers, shelters and other supporters. They connect and educate sex workers who are in need of support or who are working in social isolation, and increase public awareness of the myriad of issues that people involved in sex work face, as well as facilitate communication without judgment or assumptions.

The group is known for its “Bad Date Book” – a monthly book that compiles reported “bad dates” in the sex work community in Toronto. A “bad date” refers to episodes of violence enacted upon a sex worker. This includes where a client refuses to pay a worker, violates the terms of services or exchanges bad or harmful drugs. All reports are anonymous and will not be shared with police.

The Bad Date Coalition is currently in the process of updating their website and developing an application where sex workers can report a bad date via text messaging. The bad date report can then be forwarded out in real-time by email and/or text messaging to those on a listserv. This application will allow the group to immediately warn sex workers and professionals of bad dates, which can assist in harm reduction. AWB is proud to support the development of the website and app.

Interested in learning more? Visit BDC’s website and Facebook page today.