Over the past twenty years, our organization has engaged in research and advocacy activities that build upon the wisdom and experiences of Sex Workers. We affirm that Sex Work must play a central role in informing policies and practices relating to sex work – in short, there should be nothing for Sex Workers without Sex Workers. We are active participants in local, national, and international initiatives to promote Sex Worker rights and social justice, including the Vancouver Sex Work Supports and Exiting Consortium, Canadian Alliance for Sex Work Law Reform, and FIRST. We actively lobby police departments, health authorities, and governments to promote policies and practices to improve the safety and well-being of Sex Workers.

PACE was centrally involved in successfully challenging the constitutionality of Canadian sex work legislation. After our Violence Prevention Coordinator, Sheri Kiselbach, won the right to challenge Canadian sex work laws in Sex Workers United Against Violence & Kiselbach v. Canada , PACE joined a separate constitutional challenge that had already reached the Supreme Court of Canada. As intervenors in Bedford v. Canada, PACE joined with our allies to successfully challenge three provisions of Canadian sex work laws (prohibitions against operating brothels, living on the avails of sex work, and communicating in public with clients).
Learn more about our journey with Sex Workers United Against Violence and Pivot Legal.

We recognize that Sex Workers are experts on sex work and other issues affecting them, such as access to housing, health care, and legal supports. For more than twenty years, we have engaged in community-based and participatory research projects on a wide range of issues that directly impact Sex Workers. We have led several community-based research projects, and have also partnered with researchers at the University of British Columbia, British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, and Simon Fraser University. We actively use our research findings to promote positive changes in policies and practices for Sex Workers.

If you have any questions about our Research and Advocacy efforts or are interested in partnering with us, please contact Laura Dilley, Executive Director, by phone at (604) 872-7651 or email at info@pace-society.org.

Reports and articles authored or co-authored by PACE staff and members include:

A peer-led mobile outreach program and increased utilization of detoxification and residential drug treatment among female sex workers who use drugs in a Canadian setting

Drug #038; Alcohol Dependence (2011), Volume 113, Issue 1, Pages 46-54


Authors: Kathleen N. Deering (BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS), Thomas Kerr (BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS), Mark W. Tyndall (BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS), Julio S.G. Montaner (BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS), Kate Gibson (WISH Drop-in Centre), Laurel Irons (PACE Society) and Kate Shannon (BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS)BACKGROUND: The objectives of this study were to examine the determinants of using a peer-led mobile outreach program (the Mobile Access Project [MAP]) among a sample of street-based female sex workers (FSWs) who use drugs in an urban Canadian setting and evaluate the relationship between program exposure and utilizing addiction treatment services.METHODS: A detailed questionnaire was administered at baseline and bi-annual follow-up visits over 18 months (2006–2008) to 242 FSWs in Vancouver, Canada. We used bivariate and multivariate logistic regression with generalized estimating equations for both objectives, reporting unadjusted and adjusted odds ratios (AOR) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs).RESULTS: Over 18 months, 42.2% (202) reports of peer-led mobile outreach program use were made. High-risk women, including those servicing a higher weekly client volume (10+ compared to <10; AOR: 1.7, 95%CIs: 1.1–2.6) and those soliciting clients in deserted, isolated settings (AOR: 1.7, 95%CIs: 1.1–2.7) were more likely to use the program. In total, 9.4% (45) reports of using inpatient addiction treatment services were made (7.5% detoxification; 4.0% residential drug treatment), and 33.6% (161) using outpatient treatment (28.8% methadone; 9.6% alcohol/drug counsellor). Women who used the peer-led mobile outreach were more likely to use inpatient addiction treatment (AOR: 4.2, 95%CIs: 2.1–8.1), even after adjusting for drug use, environmental–structural factors, and outpatient drug treatment.DISCUSSION: Our findings demonstrate that FSWs at higher risk for sexually transmitted infections and violence are more likely to access this peer-led mobile outreach program and suggest that the program plays a critical role in facilitating utilization of detoxification and residential drug treatment.

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Peer Support using a Mobile Access Van Promotes Safety and Harm Reduction Strategies among Sex Trade Workers in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside


Authors: Patricia A. Janssen (University of British Columbia), Kate Gibson (WISH Drop-in Centre), Raven Bowen (PACE Society), Patricia M. Spittal (University of British Columbia), and Karen L. Petersen (University of British Columbia

Women in the sex trade whose economic and social base are urban streets face multiple dangers of predation, isolation, and illness. A Mobile Access Project (MAP) to provide emergency medical help, peer counseling, condoms and clean needles, resource information and referral, and a place of respite and safety was initiated for sex trade workers in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. We conducted surveys with 100 women sex workers who accessed MAP services and reviewed MAP logbooks to document use of services. We assessed the impact of MAP through review of data from a concurrent cohort study of injection drug users and a survey of 97 women at a drop-in center in the Downtown Eastside. Over 90% of MAP clients reported that the van made them feel safer on the street. Sixteen percent of surveyed MAP clients recalled a specific incident in which the van’s presence protected them from a physical assault and 10% recalled an incident when its presence had prevented a sexual assault. Distribution of needles and condoms has increased steadily since the implementation of MAP. Eighty percent of women surveyed at a drop-in center in the Downtown Eastside had received services from MAP. The peer-led Mobile Access Project has emerged as a viable harm reduction strategy for serving the immediate health and trauma-related needs of women engaged in street-level sex work.

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OverviewAs community based research becomes more prevalent within voluntary sectors, knowledge of research principles and ethics has become essential. The research enterprise is a major contributor to social policy and our understanding of ourselves and the world around us. This document aims to share our knowledge around research ethics, to empower us in our work, and to reduce the potential harms that participation in research/evaluation has had on some impoverished and/or criminalized client populations. We also feel the need to make a strong argument for the necessity to make the Researcher-Participant relationship one of privilege. This would provide vulnerable populations with the level of confidentiality in a way that is free of fear and exploitation and that is necessary for their full participation in the production of knowledge.Read the full report

OverviewIn Vancouver, violence against street-level sex trade workers has long been accepted as pervasive. We wanted to gain a better understanding of the conditions under which this violence occurs. We were looking for a new model of doing research that could respond to the needs of the women and not the researchers’ desire to collect data. We chose to investigate rates of eight different violent acts, based upon Canadian Criminal Code definitions, and three (for the purposes of this paper) non-violent categories – harassment, robbery, and refusal to wear a condom. In an attempt to gauge the gulf between acts of violence suffered and acts of violence reported, we also explored police response from the point of view of women. Read the full report

DescriptionThe following report provides a snapshot into the lives of Aboriginal youth on the street. All of the issues identified in this report are symptoms of historic and ongoing social exclusion and systemic racism toward indigenous peoples. Data for the Eagle Feathers Barrier questionnaire was gathered through a participant survey conducted in the period of eight weeks during this twelve-week period. Data collection took place in a number of different places on and off the known sex work strolls of the Greater Vancouver Regional District. Read the full report