Blue Door sexual exploitation program revived after Ottawa offers 3-year funding package
A program designed to help people exit the sex trade in Newfoundland and Labrador has been revived after losing its funding.
The Blue Door program, run by non-profit Thrive, nearly closed down last year when its federal funding ran out and the Newfoundland and Labrador government declined to provide operating grants.
Executive director Angela Crockwell said Thursday that meant the program has had to rely on private donors and scale back the number of people they were able to help.
"We went from five staff down to two … it was really challenging," Crockwell said. "Often the folks that we're serving have been let down by systems historically. In some ways we were concerned we were replicating that experience."
About 70 people had been using the program to access emergency funds, therapy, and guidance for employment, education and literacy skills.
That number dropped to 35 over the last year.
Crockwell said the program was approved for $150,000 over three years to allow it to maintain its current staffing level.
"We know our staffing is secure, so we can open up and accept new referrals," she said.
"We have heard loud and clear on a daily basis from individuals who talk about the need for a specialized program [where they can] connect with peers who also have this lived experience and this sense of community … [it's] been really, really meaningful for individuals that have not been able to find this support in other places."