This year we celebrate 15 years of work with and for sexually exploited women to confront male demand for paid sex.

We are proud of the work we have done towards the abolition of prostitution in partnership and solidarity with our allies in Vancouver; and of the leadership provided to our organization by our Executive Directors Michelle Miller (2005-2015), Mary-Lee Bouma (2015-2018), Adria Pritchard Doll (2015-2020), and Paige Letendre (2018-2020). This work is unfinished and of great importance.

We are committed to our posture as a women-led feminist and faith-based organization and to our mandate to resist exploitation and embrace dignity with respect to patriarchy, pornography and prostitution.

Our volunteer leadership board has been in prayer and discernment for much of this year. We have made the decision to pause operations July 3, 2020 and to devote ourselves to learning and capacity building for a period of 6-12 months. Our intention is to strengthen our organizational structure for greater financial sustainability and to equip ourselves to better mobilize our community in service of sexually exploited women on our return. This is not a permanent closure.

COVID-19

The pandemic has significantly shaped our lived experience and impacted our strategic initiatives.

We were unable to host our annual gala which is our largest fundraiser of the year. We have though been encouraged by the timely provision of unexpected donations in this season.

Public Health Orders suspended our in-person learning opportunities but Paige Letendre was innovative in pivoting our Intelligent Love course online. In our most productive learning season to date she hosted two courses simultaneously with Zoom and this new venue allowed us to welcome learners from outside the province and country.

OUR ONGOING WORK IN THIS SEASON

We will temporarily suspend our education initiatives and our direct service to women. We are working to transition women well and to provide referrals to allied organizations for support. Our Intelligent Love course will return when we resume operations, as well as mutually transformative relationships with women engaged in or exiting prostitution.

Commitment to Women

We remain committed to women in and exiting prostitution and will continue to make our financial resources available to them on request, through partnership with organizations with shared values as well as through our established bursary program. We are also committed to maintaining our charitable status through this period and have engaged professional services to assist us with compliance.

Commitment to Allies

Our commitment to our allies and the coalitions we belong to remain. Our volunteer board will continue to maintain these relationships and support ally-led initiatives and campaigns. You can expect to receive ongoing communication from the board during this pause with updates on our progress as well as opportunities to mobilize with our allies.

STAFF ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

We want to express our sincere gratitude to our current staff Paige Letendre and Adria Pritchard Doll who will conclude their work with REED July 3, 2020. Both women have given much of themselves in service of this community and of sexually exploited women. Adria has established many meaningful relationships with women and has embodied kindness and compassion. Paige has established new partnerships and extended our network, equipping people for justice and advocacy.

We trust the immense skill of both women to be utilized in other employment opportunities and are honoured to have worked alongside them.

We invite you to prayerfully consider continuing your financial support of REED in this time. You can do so with assurance that the money will be well spent for the benefit of vulnerable women and will continue to sustain our organization.

We ask that you continue with us in this work and welcome questions you may have for the board. Questions can be directed to board@embracedignity.org.

In solidarity and grace,

Board members: Rachel Castelino, Leanne Kwan, Alicia Perez and Mandy Thayil
Resist Exploitation, Embrace Dignity (REED)