Umm...err... ok.... sure. I always said that they should make it a Government Institution:
Challenges face women starting co-op brothel. Operation to offer benefits, fair pay to employees
Louise Dickson, Times Colonist Published: Friday, July 25, 2008
Two Victoria women are one step closer to opening a co-operative brothel in the city, a share of whose profits would help fund programs for addicted and impoverished sex trade workers.
Last year, Jody Paterson, former executive director of Prostitutes Empowerment Education and Resource Society, and Lauren Casey, a former sex-trade worker and a past director of PEERS, announced their intention to open a brothel that would offer employees all the benefits of a modern workplace including wages, medical leave, vacation pay and workers' compensation.
Last month, they opened what they are calling "an escort agency with a difference."
"This is the beginning," said Paterson. "We don't have an indoor venue yet. What we have is a group of independent workers with a centralized administrator centre."
In her weekly column published today in the Times Colonist, Paterson says her aim is to develop a fair and benevolent workplace for adult sex workers. The goal of the new escort agency -- Victoria Independent Providers -- is to donate a share of profits to services and support for disadvantaged sex trade workers on city streets.
Moving past the social issues and concentrating purely on the business has been fascinating, said Paterson.
"How does it work? And who are the customers? And what do the customers worry about? What do the workers worry about? It's a world you never get a chance to see if you're living in the mainstream world," said Paterson. "We're trying to be different. How do you run it so it's a really good place to work and yet makes money?"
V.I.P., like other escort agencies in Victoria, is legal and has a business licence. All the women are licensed under the city's escort laws. But the business is still developing its policies based on the real challenges of the people involved, said Paterson.
"We're trying to be a fair employer and as legit as the laws allow us to be. We're trying to be a good, discreet, clean and safe business."
V.I.P. has weekly staff meetings to discuss different issues such as income tax or sexually transmitted diseases. The escorts range in age from 22 to 30.
The new agency doesn't want to bring anyone into the sex industry who wants in for the wrong reasons, said Paterson. "We hope to have adult people who are fully certain they want to work in this industry."
Paterson doesn't own the agency, but is on the board of directors. She describes her role as an advisory one. "I'm just trying to help out where I can," she said.
The next challenge is to find investors who can contribute about $40,000 to rent commercial space and buy furniture to set up the brothel.
"But I don't have any expectations," said Paterson. "I want to test the model. I would like to see if we can actually create a better workplace within current laws right now, rather than have to wait 100 years to change the laws. And I'm starting to see, yes we can."
© Times Colonist (Victoria) 2008
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07-25-2008, 10:45 AM #1
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