Stepping Stone is the only non-profit organization in the Maritimes that supports women, men, and transgender persons currently and formerly involved in the sex trade by contributing to their health, safety and well-being. We work from a harm reduction policy and support individuals from all ethnic backgrounds and socio-economic status.
We support choice.
We believe that all individuals have the right to self-determination; we do not interfere with or attempt to stop their work, instead, we assist in making their life choices as safe and positive as possible.
Our centre is a safe-haven from the street and hub of activity. The house is much more than a place to shower or grab a bite to eat, it is a place where sex workers can meet and form a community—it is not just a house, it is a home.
Our trained staff provide advocacy through many avenues including, but not limited to, court support, housing support, building community relationships, and promoting harm reduction.
We reach out.
Our Street Outreach Program is in conjunction with other community groups and allows us to connect with street-based sex workers and those working out of private houses and ensure that they are safe and have the supplies they need to remain that way.
Through the provision of condoms, snacks, a “Bad Date List,” crises intervention, and referrals to in-house staff for further assistance, our Outreach workers forge trust-based relationships with street-based sex workers who may otherwise be isolated from their communities.
In 1985, three sex workers, whose efforts to exit the trade were unsuccessful, were murdered. These murders drove the City of Halifax to establish the Advisory Group on Prositution and Related Issues in May of 1986.
The group examined the social complexities of prostitution and identified the need for an organization in the Maritimes that would deal specifically with the issues accompanying street-based sex work. In response to this need, the Elizabeth Fry Society started the Stepping Stone Program in November of 1987.
It was in August of 1989 that the responsibility of the Stepping Stone Program was transferred from the Elizabeth Fry Society to an independent organization, The Stepping Stone Association. The Association became registered on August 8, 1989 as Street Services for Women and Youth Association which continued to deliver street-based supports, services and outreach to sex workers. The need for supports, court support, transition support, and resources became pronounced and helped mould Stepping Stone into the organization it is today.