Who Are We?
Stella was created in 1995 through the initiative of a handful of sex-workers, public-health researchers and sympathisers. The first team consisted of four employees, a handful of volunteers and sympathizers. Our efforts have resulted in a unique, constantly developing resource, always blooming and filled with surprises. Today, on average twelve women work full-time for Stella and our membership continues to grow.
Stella’s much sought-after expertise continues to gain recognition. We participate in a diversity of committees, coalitions, research groups and Boards of Directors. Our media presence is strong, and we are often invited to give lectures at conferences dealing with topics related to sex work. We are also regularly invited by artists to participate in projects and events. For example, in 2001, we took part in "Six personnages en quête d'auteur", a play directed by Wajdi Mouawad at the Théâtre de Quatre’sous.
Through the actions of Stella's members and the Coalition for the Rights of Sex Workers, the sex workers’ rights movement here has gotten a lot of public attention, specifically by national, provincial and municipal governments, as well as by the local women’s movement. These social agents are now familiar with discourse developed by sex workers and take it into consideration as they develop related policies.
On an international scale, community groups like Stella, as well as autonomous associations of sex workers, are organising and fighting for the decriminalisation of sex work. With 65.000 members, India is home to the largest association of sex workers in the world: the Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee (DMSC).
Stella’s goals are:
- to provide support and information to sex-workers so that they may live in safety and with dignity;
- to sensitize and educate the public about sex work and the realities faced by sex workers;
- to fight discrimination against sex workers;
- to promote the decriminalisation of sex work.
Stella favours empowerment and solidarity by and amongst sex workers, since we are committed to the idea that each of us has a place in society, and human rights worth defending.
Not only do we run a drop-in centre reserved for sex-workers, but we also produce Bad Tricks and Assaulters Lists included into our monthly Bulletin, a bi-yearly magazine called ConStellation, and a growing stock of other useful tools. However, most of our contacts with street-level sex-workers, escorts, masseuses and dancers are made through our street-work.
If you are a sex worker and you would like to get in touch with us, don’t hesitate to contact us by phone or by email.
At Stella we do a variety of activities both in our centre and in different bars, massage parlours and hotels; there are art workshops, community meals, free vaccinations clinics, ConStellation magazine, to name just a few.
If you want to keep up to date about our activities, just ask for our monthly calendar and news, found in each Stella's Bulletin, which also includes the Bad Tricks and Assaulters List. We can send it either to your work or home. If you want to organise an activity with our team, feel free to ask us.
Members of the Board 2012-2013
Émilie Laliberté, Director-general
Véronique Leduc, President
Marie-Ève Gauvin, Vice-president
Laurence Olivier, Secretary-Treasurer
Julie Châteauvert, Administrator
Chantale Perron, Administrator
Jennifer Drummond, Administrator
Sara Eddhima Auclair, Administrator
Pauline Houle, Representative from employees.
See also: Human Rights and Anti-Violence Work