B.C. sex workers will fill in keywords, license plates, and other quick descriptors in the database, which will be accessible by phone, to suss out potential clients. (Pixabay)

B.C. sex workers will fill in keywords, license plates, and other quick descriptors in the database, which will be accessible by phone, to suss out potential clients. (Pixabay)

New ‘bad date’ reporting tool is good news for B.C. sex workers

Peer-to-peer database will allow sex workers to report dangerous clients to one another

B.C. sex workers will soon be able to look up potential clients and see if they’ve been violent with others, thanks to funding recently secured for a provincial “bad date” registry aiming to tackle growing safety issues within the sector.

It will be the first database of its kind in Canada to use Bad Date and Aggressor Reporting (BDAR).

WISH Drop-In Centre Society, a proponent for the reporting tool, describes a bad date as “someone being rude, stealing, refusing to pay, threatening, or any acts of violence.”

Sex workers in B.C. experience substantially higher rates of violence than the general population, WISH spokesperson Estefania Duran said in a statement Tuesday.

“Due to stigma, criminalization, and other legal barriers, the vast majority of the violence toward sex workers is not reported to authorities – forcing sex workers to take safety into their own hands,” Duran continued.

READ MORE: Sex workers face new risks during COVID-19 pandemic

In reporting their dangerous encounters to the database, sex workers will protect themselves and their peers from run-ins with dangerous clients. Those who use the system will enter keywords, license plates, and other quick descriptors in the registry to suss out potential clients.

“As a trans woman sex worker, I can speak personally to the isolation and precarious working conditions many sex workers face,” said Lyra McKee, co-executive director at PACE Society.

The project plans to launch with three years of funding from the Law Foundation of British Columbia and an anonymous B.C. family foundation.

After that, those behind the project including Peers Victoria, SWAN Vancouver, Living Community and the University of Victoria hope the province will pick up the tab.

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sarah.grochowski@bpdigital.ca

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