Tag Archives: sex workers

Downtown Chapel opens space for mothers in the sex trade

Painting by Sherry Lynn Dooley

By Amanda Waldroupe, staff Writer

Portland’s first and only drop in center for mothers involved in human trafficking, prostitution and other forms of sex work began on Saturday, May 15.

The drop-in center, called Our Mother’s House, is located in the basement of the Downtown Chapel, a Roman Catholic parish in downtown Portland. It offers a meal, hygiene items and access to resources and information for the women and their children.

More importantly, says founder Brian Willis, it offers a space for community and the chance for mothers involved in sex work to meet other women like them. Continue reading

Oregon DOJ receives $1.9 million grant to combat violence against women

According to the Oregonian, Attorney General John Kroger announced today that the Oregon Department of Justice has been awarded a $1.9 million stimulus grant by the federal Office on Violence Against Women.

The grant’s purposes are to provide funds to nonprofits so they can hire new staff or keep hired victim service workers, and to fund efforts by local law enforcement agencies and courts to prosecute those who commit violence against women. The job creation element aligns with one of the key objectives of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Given recent patterns of violence and sexual assault against women on Portland’s streets (see Street Roots’ “Sending Out an S.O.S” for in-depth coverage), news of the federal funding should come as a timely relief to local agencies working to combat violence against women.

The Department of Justice will decide how to use the funds based on the requests it receives from agencies who apply for the grant funding. For more information on the application process and to apply, visithttp://www.doj.state.or.us/about/grants.shtml.

Posted by Rebecca Robinson

Sending out an S.O.S.

Police, shelter workers and advocates work to piece together a month long pattern of violence

three-womenBy Rebecca Robinson
Contributing Writer
On a recent Friday afternoon at Sisters of the Road Café on Northwest Davis Street, women shared their stories of sexual assault and domestic violence. One woman, who asked not to be identified by name, said that her 14-year-old daughter was recently gang-raped at a party by three teenage boys who attend her school.

“No one is immune,” the woman said, her forceful voice a stark contrast to the tears flowing down her cheeks. “It’s not a prostitute problem; it’s not a homeless problem; it’s not even just a woman problem.”

In downtown Portland, a recent set of incidents has brought the problem into stark relief for women on the streets.
Portland police, homeless shelter workers, and women’s crisis advocates are working to piece together a month-long pattern of violent sexual assaults by multiple male attackers on young homeless women. But the police are struggling to conduct an investigation because the victims, many of them sex workers, fear that going to the police may lead to their arrest for other unlawful activities.

A former sex worker known as Jasmine contacted Street Roots last month, saying, “I have a story that needs to be told.” It was a story that, for some on the streets, was all too familiar.
Continue reading