Red Deer sex trade workers can now easily warn co-workers about violent customers by filling out an online form for Red Deer’s bad date book.
About a month ago, Central Alberta AIDS Network Society made the form available on its website — www.caans.org — so sex trade workers don’t have go to the CAANS office.
“The actual binder and act of accessing it became kind of associated with being a rat, so people were less inclined to access it in a public manner,” said Jason Taylor, harm reduction co-ordinator at CAANS.
“We figured providing it online it would provide a little more anonymity.”
While it may be too early to say how successful the online form will be, it is showing potential, he said.
A form was filled out online on April 28. Before that, only half a dozen had been filled out at the office since 2006.
The form, which asks for information on the incident, a description of the customer and vehicle, can be filled out anonymously.
The information is shared with agencies that have contact with sex trade workers to help spread the word. Any information that could possibly lead to identifying the worker is not passed on.
People can’t view the information in the forms online.
Taylor said computers are playing a large role in the expansion of the sex trade industry so putting the form online is helping CAANS keep up with the industry.
“You find a lot more freelance individuals (online) who aren’t tied to escort agencies or a pimp. They operate under their own conditions and rather anonymously from home,” Taylor said.
People can still choose to fill out a form at the CAANS office, which is a safe and confidential place, he said.
Whether it’s online or at the office, Tyler hopes more workers will contribute to the bad date book. It’s a vital way to keep them safe, Taylor said.
“It’s essential that individuals involved in the sex trade be able to prepare themselves, educate themselves on identifying factors of potentially violent situations or theft or sexual abuse.
“Definitely, they deserve the same protection and rights as anybody.”