Notifications

Audio

Sudbury sex workers use story boxes to share experiences

A new art project in Sudbury is aiming to reduce the public stigma around the sex trade.
A new project in Sudbury is helping current and former sex workers use art as a means of expression. They are making what they call story boxes. (Jenifer Norwell/CBC)

A new art project in Sudbury is aiming to reduce the public stigma around the sex trade.

The Sex Workers Advisory Network of Sudbury — or SWANS for short — is working with community arts group Myths and Mirrors on the "Storybox" project with the hope of changing people's perception of sex trade workers.
(Jenifer Norwell/CBC)

A lot of women involved in sex work have a hard time talking about it with others, said Tracy Gregory, who is with Réseau ACCESS Network, has experience in the sex trade and is co-ordinator of SWANS. 

"The sharing that has happened since we started working on these boxes is really a gift, in terms of women sharing their experiences with service providers, their experiences with their families, their own children.”
Tracy Gregory of with Réseau ACCESS Network says a lot of women involved in sex work have a hard time talking about it with others. The story boxes help to give them a voice. (Jenifer Norwell/CBC)

Gregory added the stigma that surrounds the sex worker trade can affect access to medical care for some women. She said many sex workers she speaks with aren't getting regular pap tests or tests for sexually transmitted infections.

“Because when they start to try and access service, they're right away shut down,” she said.

“And if they do get service, they're not talking about the work they're doing because they're not comfortable enough to talk about the work they're doing."

Gregory said many of the women she's worked with can give specific examples when they've felt judged and revictimized when seeking medical help.

The finished Storyboxes will be shown at the SWANS Building Inclusive Communities Conference in June.

Community artist Sarah King Gold and Sudbury's Myths and Mirrors are responsible for the artistic facilitation of the Storybox project.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.