Moon Medicine Rising

Program snapshot

Age group: Young adult (18-24); Adult (25-64)

Gender: Female only

Population served: Aboriginal/Indigenous; Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and two-spirit (LGBTQ2); Sex workers; Visible minority/ethnic group

Topic: Prostitution, sex trade and/or sexual exploitation

Setting: Urban area; Social services setting

Location: Manitoba

Number of completed Canadian outcome evaluation studies: 1

Continuum of intervention: Tertiary crime prevention

Brief Description

Moon Medicine Rising (formerly known as the Women’s Support and Recovery Program) is a transitional service for women who desire to exit prostitution in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The program aims to provide the appropriate services (through either referral or in-house intervention) that will allow the participant to surmount the potential barriers they face to exiting street prostitution or other transactional sexual activity. This program also includes a secondary component, which provides transitional housing to women who have left prostitution, providing them a safe, stable and supportive place to live for up to 2 years.

The program is centered on counselling and social work; mentoring – tutoring; group supports; service referrals; and skills training.


The main goals of Moon Medicine Rising are to:

  • Provide long-term support and programming (over 5 years) to women who face multiple barriers exiting prostitution; and
  • Equip women exiting prostitution with the knowledge and skills needed to restore and maintain health and wellness.


The appropriate clientele for Moon Medicine Rising are adult women (or female-identified), regardless of sexual orientation, from all areas of Winnipeg who seek to exit prostitution or other transactional sexual activity. This program is for women of all ethno-cultural backgrounds, particularly Aboriginal women.

Core Components

Moon Medicine Rising follows a phase format of service delivery. The following phases are included in the program:

  • Phase 1 – Intake & Assessment/Outreach: The first phase of the program consists of identifying women in prostitution that may benefit from the program. Activities in this phase include the outreach, intake and assessment of potential participants of the program, as well as giving these women referrals to the outside support systems they need;
  • Phase 2 – Support and Education: The second phase of the program aims to provide the women participants stabilization and support from within the program, providing them security, resources, and education while transitioning from prostitution. Activities in this phase include weekly counselling sessions, educational groups, meeting basic needs, and providing general advocacy;
  • Phase 3 – Therapeutic Support: The third phase of the program helps provide participants in the program with the skills they need to reconstruct themselves and accept new roles/identities. Activities in this phase include bi-weekly counselling sessions, therapeutic/cultural support groups, basic life skills support, and connection to education and employment training centres; and
  • Phase 4 – Ongoing Support & Mentorship: The final stage of the program ensures that the participant continues on the prosocial track they have created for themselves in the program. Activities for this phase include follow ups, and mentorship/peer support.

Implementation Information

Some of the critical elements for the implementation of this program or initiative include the following:

  • Organizational requirements: Organizations seeking to implement Moon Medicine Rising should have a strong expertise and an organizational infrastructure that can support the development of a multi-year program. The organization should also have experience providing services to women experiencing multiple barriers.
  • Partnerships: Important partnerships for Moon Medicine Rising include community health centres, law enforcement, addiction centres, and partnering agencies that can help the target population, and refer at-risk women to the program.
  • Training and technical assistance: Limited information on this topic.
  • Risk assessment tools: Limited information on this topic.
  • Materials & resources: An important component for the program is to reduce barriers of at-risk women, and this can include providing transport, childcare, and informational handouts. The organization must be able to provide such services through either partnerships or in-house materials.

International Endorsements

The most recognized classification systems of evidence-based crime prevention programs have classified this program or initiative as follows:

  • Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development: Not applicable.
  • Crime Solutions/OJJDP Model Program Guide: Not applicable.
  • SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices: Not applicable.
  • Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy: Not applicable.

Gathering Canadian Knowledge

Canadian Implementation Sites

Public Safety Canada’s National Crime Prevention Strategy provided funding to the North End Women’s Centre (NEWC) to implement Moon Medicine Rising from 2017-2022 in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Main Findings from Canadian Outcome Evaluation Studies

As part of Public Safety Canada’s funding, an outcome evaluation study of Moon Medicine Rising was carried out between 2017 and 2022 by Health in Common. The evaluation methodology included a mixed-methods design, including qualitative (e.g., interviews) and quantitative (e.g., questionnaires) measures.

Results from this evaluation showed the following:

  • From September 2017 to March 2022, 108 women participated in the program, with over 1,296 hours of educational groups, 875 hours of support sessions, and 894 hours of 1-1 counselling sessions delivered during this time.
  • Program response was diverse with more than half of the participating women having demonstrated significant life changes, and another third having left the program shortly after intake and experienced relapse.
  • Overall, 83 of the original 108 women exited the program and consented to evaluation.
  • When asked about changes and accomplishments made since starting the program, participants described achieving and maintaining sobriety, committing to healing and recovery, exiting sex work and cutting off communication with exploitative persons, returning to school, reunifying relationships with children and family, and increasing their engagement with and appreciation of their Indigenous culture through cultural activities offered in the program.

Cost Information

No information available.


Health in Common. (2022). North End Women’s Centre Moon Medicine Rising Program final report. [Unpublished final evaluation report]. Submitted to Public Safety Canada.

For more information on this program, contact:

North End Women’s Centre
394 Selkirk Ave
Winnipeg, Manitoba R2W 2M2
Telephone: (204) 589-7347

Record Entry Date - 2018-03-14
Record Updated On - 2023-12-11
Date modified: