Photography project empowers sex trade workers

TORONTO, Jan. 30, 2012 /CNW/ - The most marginalized women in Toronto's Moss Park and Regent Park neighbourhoods are not used to having people pay positive attention to their lives. A photography project run out of All Saints' Church-Community Centre at Sherbourne and Dundas Streets, seeks to change that.

Ten women, selected from among those who attend All Saints' Friday morning drop-in program for women in the sex trade, have received disposable cameras and photography lessons and have been encouraged to take photographs of their lives. All Saints' is calling it the Exposure Project.

"I dreamed up the idea for the Exposure Project one day," says Carly Kalish, the social worker who coordinates the Friday morning drop-in. "I thought, how cool would it be to educate and empower sex workers through the art of photography while educating the community about what their lives look like. Because people walk by and don't even acknowledge them. They are completely invisible."

The women's photographs will be displayed at Holy Trinity Church, 10 Trinity Square, in Toronto, April 12-19. On the last night of the exhibit, April 19, the Exposure Project will hold a fundraising event where guests will have an opportunity to buy the photographs, with a portion of the proceeds going back to the photographers. Tickets are available at www.allsaintstoronto.com.

All Saints' Friday morning women's drop-in is a place where women who are involved in the sex trade and who use drugs can get non-judgmental support. It offers a full breakfast, presentations by guest speakers, activities such as arts and crafts, and individual counseling and advocacy. The drop-in celebrated its one-year anniversary in December and is seeing more than 40 women each Friday morning. All Saints' Church-Community Centre is a ministry of the Anglican Diocese of Toronto.

"The resilience of the women is what makes the Exposure Project and this whole place so amazing," says Ms. Kalish. "They walk in and who knows what their day has been like, but they smile and say: 'Oh, I'm so glad that I can talk to you,' or 'I'm so glad I have a warm breakfast.' It makes your day that something so small, when they've been through so much, can make their day."

SOURCE Anglican Diocese of Toronto

For further information:

Media Contact:
Carly Kalish, MSW
Social Worker & Program Coordinator
All Saints' Church-Community Centre
Tel: 416-368-7768, ext. 24


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