Sex worker safe house to close in June

Sex workers and women escaping trauma or addiction will no longer be able to use the Servants Anonymous emergency shelter in Calgary.

Safe house will close at end of June

Shelter programs, such as this youth shelter in Edmonton, can help people escape dangerous situations. (CBC)

Sex workers and women escaping trauma or addiction will no longer be able to use the Servants Anonymous safe house in Calgary.

The centre announced this week that it will be forced to close the doors of its safe house program at the end of June because of funding cuts.

"What we'll do is we'll stop taking in our intakes in May," says executive director Marina Giacomin, "so that means we'll no longer be able to have women and women with children come into our safe house."

The Servants Anonymous Society of Calgary is an agency that helps sex trade workers get off the streets and into better homes and jobs.

The safe house program isn't an emergency shelter but provides a home for women leaving dangerous situations who need a place to stay while they figure out what to do next, says Giacomin.

It was founded in 1989 and on average about 70 women use the program each year.

Servants Anonymous received money to start their safe house program as a pilot project through Alberta's Safe Communities initiative.

It received $655,000 over three years from the province for the project and also received an extra year of bridge funding to help smooth the transition off government funds.

The funding was never meant to be permanent.

"The idea behind this gift funding was to provide start-up money for pilot projects," says Christine Nardella, spokeswoman for the office of Alberta Justice and Soliciter General, which ran the Safe Communities initiative.

Servants Anonymous says that while it is looking for a donor to help keep the program open, it has not been able to find one.


  • Servants Anonymous was established in 1989, not 2009 as this story originally stated.
    Apr 11, 2014 5:34 PM MT