Saturday, September 28, 2019

The Ultimate Business Resource for Sex Workers is Almost Here!

By Annie Temple

We are getting close to rolling out the Beta version of The *new* Naked Truth website!

After announcing our plans for the new site a few weeks ago, we received a lot of interest and support!

Thank you!

As expected, there were questions and concerns.

This week's blog post is in response to those questions and concerns.

When the new site goes live, the following information will be in effect. 

For more context, I will repeat some info from our announcement here:

The Naked Truth is owned and operated by sex workers.

We are activists on the forefront of sex worker actions. 

We are tired of others making money off our backs, while being constantly turned down for funding.

Our years of activism, research, program creation / coordination / implementation, and our lived experience have led us to seek solutions to our challenges.

The Naked Truth (Revision 69, as I like to call it) will be the manifestation of our collective vision as a community.

It is based on the work we, as individuals and groups, have done over the past several years and the concerns you have shared.

What you are about to witness is history in the making!

Thanks to our amazing website designer...

  • The *NEW* Naked Truth will offer you affordable advertising for your services and a profile to use in your promotions.
  • The classifieds section will also allow sex workers and allies to share things like work-spaces for rent and SW friendly businesses.
  • We will have an internal system for screening clients and opportunities for you to recommend and report clients using our system.
  • We will also have an automated system for reporting bad experiences, with an easy search function, available only to sex workers.
  • We will provide essential online training for sex workers earning members "certifications" that will let clients know we are safe and professional.
  • We are already working with police and other outside agencies to recognize the certifications of our members.
  • Our goal is to lower and potentially end the enforcement of Canada's deadly laws around sex work.
The *NEW* Naked Truth will be a central resource that encompasses the above "most accessed and sought" resources for sex workers.

  • Our Partner Organization is the BC Coalition of Experiential Communities. Together, we are a resource for any Canadian sex worker to contact for support. We will do our best to connect SW's with resources they need and offer unlimited guidance for anyone seeking membership or certification on our site.
  • We will provide a safe forum for SW's to have respectful discussions. Bullying will not be tolerated.
  • Our Adult Classifieds will be the most affordable on the internet and we will provide opportunities for sex workers to get credits they can put towards ads, as well.
  • We will have a secret client alert available only to sex workers who are certified or vouched for by someone who is certified.

To read the full announcement, click here.

Thank you to those who bravely challenged our plans and asked important questions about what we're doing!

Please read through this post and send us MORE questions and concerns, if you have any!

We will do our best to respond to you quickly and it will help us develop our FAQ page.

We need your help to ensure the new Naked Truth is inclusive, safe, and easy to use.

Our vision is to become The Ultimate Business Resource for Sex Workers in Canada!

Our mission is:
  • to provide sex-worker-driven, accessible resources, tools, and supports that prioritize health, safety, ethical business practices, and training for sex workers and our clients;
  • and to promote a voluntary system of self-regulation in the Canadian sex industry.

A lot of you had questions about the certification process and about how we are engaging police with our efforts.

Read on to learn more about our plans...

What does it mean to Get Certified?

Trade Secrets Certification:

  • Brings occupational health and safety to our industry;
  • Gives us access to health and safety resources, should we need them;
  • Shows us how we can prevent some of the risks associated with our industry;
  • Protects sex workers, the places where where we work, and clients from the blanket enforcement actions of the past. (We have already been working hard and will continue to build awareness among police and municipal licensing staff about the Trade Secrets Certification program);
  • Ensures businesses and sex workers know how to work in an ethical, healthy, and safe manner;
  • Ensures sex workers are legal age to work in the sex industry;
  • Gives clients a way to demonstrate that they are safe and respectful when booking for the first time;
  • Teaches clients about the industry and how they can participate in the industry effectively and respectfully.

Why Get Certified?

There are many reasons to get your Trade Secrets Certification.

The Bigger Picture...

  • Self-regulation of our own industry
  • Essential health and safety education for new sex workers and a great refresher for veterans
  • Easier for sex workers to screen clients
  • Easier for clients to screen sex workers
  • Legitimizes our businesses in the eyes of outside agencies
  • Increases our health and safety knowledge and enables us to share our expertise
  • Enables third-party investigation of complaints and third-party advocacy on behalf of sex workers and clients without disclosing identities

Access to The Naked Truth Benefits...
  • $50 credit to put towards your ad(s) when you get certified
  • Access to private, certified-member only forums
  • Access to private, certified-member only client screening tools
  • Ability to “Recommend” other certified sex workers and clients
  • Referral credit of $25 to put towards your ad(s) whenever you refer someone to get certified
  • Every time you upgrade an ad, it will automatically appear in the “Certified” listings – a separate page where clients can browse for sex workers who are Trade Secrets Certified
  • Complaints about certified members will be investigated and may result in suspension and/or termination of certification ensuring the integrity of the program

Other reasons...

  • We will be fine-tuning and improving our certification process over time based on feedback from you.
  • We will work to ensure clients are aware of the benefits of seeing a Certified Provider and to increase your earning potential. 
  • Our ongoing ad campaign to raise awareness of The Naked Truth and what getting certified means will build trust and integrity in our industry.
  • Certification is also for business owners. Many business operators are ethical and could benefit from being certified. 
  • Clients will know you are safe and sex workers who are looking for a safe place to work will know too.

Do I have to be Certified to use this site or place an ad?

You do NOT have to be certified to use this site! But it will help others know you are safe and trained. And it will enable sex workers to earn credits to put towards ads and upgrades.

How hard is it to become certified?

We are endeavoring to make certification as low barrier as possible. 

It is completely free and we offer unlimited support. 

SW's will be verified through being vouched for by SW orgs, other certified sw's, and an option to submit ID if they have no access to someone to vouch for them. ID info will be deleted immediately.

Our goal is to ensure that no one is excluded. 

There will be varying costs including credits for signing up and getting certified.

We're looking at "subsidizing" ads for members in crisis. 

If you experience any issues or challenges during certification, please let us know! 

That is how we learn and improve. 

Feedback from you and others will help us to resolve those issues.

How much personal info from Sex Workers do you require?

For most sex workers, they will simply need a sex worker organization or another certified sex worker to vouch for them. 

For others, ID can be submitted, or we can conduct a Skype chat, something to verify their age and involvement in sex work. 

ID will be deleted immediately upon verification and never stored. 

How exactly you are ‘working with’ law enforcement? 

Police are not involved in any aspect of the site or certification. 
We only want them to acknowledge and respect certified workers; think twice about how they respond to complaints when they know a business owner is certified. 

No one's info is being given to police, it's the opposite...
TNT would know you are of age, and that is the end of it. 
Susan Davis has been working with police towards non-enforcement for over 10 years on the VPD committee, Living in Community, and the City of Vancouver Task Force.

The Vancouver Police Department (VPD) have agreed to recognize the certificate as proof sex workers are of legal age to work in the industry.

This is particularly good for indoor brothel and parlour workers who are often asked to present their ID when police attend to investigate complaints. This way they would not have to show ID. 
The certificate would be enough to prove they are of age to engage in sex work. 

No real names would need to be shown to police and for migrant sex workers, their immigration status or status as a foreign national would be protected.

Currently we are able to call the Vancouver police and talk with them about concerns or questions and they are forthcoming. 
They support the certification program we are implementing and there is hope that we can make the same kinds of inroads with other police departments in BC.

The goal is a safer industry with less enforcement and more self regulation. 

Something like this can't happen overnight and it needs widespread efforts, not the efforts of one small group. 

This is certainly a lofty dream, but we believe in it and we're going to give it a shot. 

The City of Vancouver has also agreed to recognize the certification as meeting business license requirements.
We hope to educate city inspectors to prevent malicious complaints and interruption in work of indoor work spaces.

How much access do the police have? 

The police have no access. Even if we are subpoenaed to submit our info, identity information will have been destroyed, protecting our members from being outed.

Were marginalised groups of sex workers consulted in this process?

We've worked with marginalized sex workers including POC, indigenous, male, trans, indoor, outdoor, and different genres. 

These plans have been under development for 10 years.

And we will continue to improve the site for all members based on feedback we receive from you.

Well, there you have it!

What are we missing?

What other questions or concerns do you have?!

Your feedback is invaluable.

We look forward to hearing from you!
About the Author

Annie Temple has been a sex worker and activist since 1997, but she's been a rebel all her life. In 2000, she founded to support other entertainers by reducing isolation, educating about health and safety, sharing information about gigs, challenging stereotypes, teaching etiquette to customers, and organizing in-person events for charity and to promote ethical businesses in the industry. 


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