Our mission is to improve the health, safety and well-being of women who are involved in Vancouver’s street-based sex trade. Our vision is for every woman to have access to opportunities to make free, healthy and positive choices.
Based in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, WISH is on the unceded, stolen lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) First Nations. For almost 40 years, WISH has been a refuge and an essential point of contact for street-based sex workers who have been made vulnerable due to poverty, homelessness, trauma, violence, stigma, and a lack of access to supports and opportunities. Eighty per cent of WISH participants are homeless, half of them are Indigenous. All live in poverty.
WISH respects that the gender spectrum is fluid and, as an organization that is committed to inclusion, our programs are open and responsive to cis and trans women and people of marginalized genders, including Two-Spirit, trans, and non-binary people.
Street-based sex workers can come to our nightly Drop-In Centre and emergency Shelter 365 days per year, and find a safe place to rest, have a hot meal, shower and connect with community. We check the safety of women working on the streets, and offer harm reduction supplies, through our Mobile Access Project (MAP) Van which drives across the city every night. Participants also have access to far-reaching opportunities designed to enable longer-term support, such as our Learning Centre, Supportive Employment Program and Music Therapy Program.
Street-based sex workers in the WISH community—while they face incredible challenges— are resilient, intelligent and strong. They survive, create and care for each other in a society that routinely denies them a voice and discounts their humanity.
WISH is a non-judgement place of compassion and trust where all women are valued. It’s a place where sex workers can begin to make healthier, more positive choices to enhance the quality of their lives.