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Upcoming events and current media coverage relating to sex work and sex workers.

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SURREY, B.C. - Mounties in Surrey, B.C., are looking for two suspects who sexually and physically assaulted a female sex-trade worker, putting her in hospital with serious injuries.

The assault took place early on Oct. 18, 2012, after the woman was picked up in north Surrey and then driven several kilometres away to a secluded area on Colebrook Rd.

Police describe the first suspect as a South Asian male in his mid-20s, who is six-foot-one and between 190 and 210 pounds with a lean build.

The second suspect, also a South Asian male in his mid-20s, is about five-foot-10 and between 200 and 230 pounds.

Police say they have secured what is believed to be DNA from the suspects.

Sex workers in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside will soon be getting special wallet-sized cards educating about their rights with police, thanks to two advocacy groups -- Pivot Legal Society and Sex Workers United Against Violence (SWUAV).

 The two groups' previous collaborations include winning a high-profile Supreme Court of Canada case which saw the country's prostitution laws declared unconstitutional, as well as convincing Vancouver police to overhaul their own enforcement of those laws.

 "They should be protecting the women a lot better than what they do," said DJ Joe, a sex worker with SWUAV, and board member of the city's Sister Watch. "When you call in and tell them you need help, it takes them two or three hours to even get there. They need to respond a lot quicker."

"A few times times, I've phoned in and it took them two to three hours to respond, which is too late to help these women. It's hard to be a part of this community -- to try to protect this community, and protect the girls -- it's a lot of work, in my experience."

For Pivot, the cards are a pocket-sized next step to spread the word about the Vancouver Police Department (VPD)'s newly declared Sex Work Enforcement Guidelines. The new approach mandates that police prioritize sex workers' safety – rather than punishing them for breaking prostitution laws. Similarly, where nuisance complaints are filed against a sex worker, police are ordered to seek alternative approaches to enforcement.

OTTAWA - A teen who accuses her 16-year-old boyfriend of pimping her out as a stripper and beating and using a Taser on her for defying him is unstable and unreliable, the boy’s lawyer argued Thursday.

His client, now 17, is on trial facing charges including human trafficking, living off the avails of prostitution and assault causing bodily harm.

The girl testified she was 16 and 17 when she was stripping in half-a-dozen local peeler bars in the fall of 2011 and handing the up to $680 she made a night to the boyfriend who said he was the only one who loved her.

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The only drop-in for sex trade workers in Prince George, B.C., is expanding its operating hours thanks to a new grant.

The Prince George New Hope Society was struggling to keep its doors open after its funding from the federal government ran out in 2011, meaning it could only afford to open once a week.

But thanks to a new grant from the Canadian Women's Foundation, the centre will now be able to open three days a week.

Jan Wilson, the centre's only volunteer, says the news is a welcome relief to their clients.

"Totally happy about that," she said. "I had more hugs today than you can imagine."

Tags: Canada, sex work

On a chilly October day, people listened somberly and some wept quietly as the words were read out loud, a microphone amplifying them across Vancouver's Library Plaza:

"The record … reveals that violence against sex workers was widespread."

"The Vancouver Police Department discriminated against survival sex workers by failing to deploy adequate resources to address the risks they knew were faced by sex workers."

"Stereotyping, overt expressions of bigotry and discriminatory attitudes against sex workers, drug users, and Aboriginal women undermined the investigations of missing women."

"The Vancouver Police Department and RCMP actively suppressed public recognition that serial killers were killing sex workers working in the Downtown Eastside."

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