Individual Advocacy

SWAN provides guidance and assists in problem-solving for women who have experienced or are at risk of abuse, threats, violence or harassment from clients or authorities. SWAN also provides support in navigating complex health, legal, and social service systems. We may be able to provide accompaniments to appointments and can support you in finding the resources you need.

Services

  • Emotional support
  • Advocacy with law enforcement
  • Support in reporting violence or crime
  • Criminal justice information and support
  • Assessment and safety planning
  • Information, resources, advocacy and referral
  • Support in filling gaps in services
  • Emergency support for crisis situations

Referrals

  • Health services
  • Housing  (e.g.transition houses, shelters, market housing)
  • Ministry of Children and Family Development
  • Legal services including specialized sex work legal services
  • Income Assistance and Child Tax Benefit
  • Counselling (CWWA, STV, other)
  • Mental health services
  • Citizenship and immigration services
  • Child care
  • Other community agencies
  • Government agencies or ministries

Support can be provided in-person at our office, a location of your choice, via email or anonymously over the phone.

Systemic Advocacy

SWAN also participates in various research projects, community forums, and conferences in order to advocate for those we support and ensure their voices are heard in public and policy conversation. Here are some examples of our systemic advocacy:

In October 2015, SWAN put on a public forum called “The Hidden Harms of Anti-Trafficking” where representatives from SWAN, Butterfly in Toronto and academics presented an evidence-based discussion on human trafficking and anti-trafficking initiatives to provide a more balanced perspective in trafficking discourse with the hope for more ethical and responsible front-line practice and policymaking. We also launched our advocacy toolkit at the event. The toolkit was created to inform the community and service providers about the women we support and to present a critical perspective on human trafficking in Canada. To read the toolkit, click here.

In May 2015, SWAN traveled to Toronto to participate in two separate events:
-Community forum called “Migrant Sex Workers Justice and the Trouble With Anti-Trafficking: Research, Activism, Art” where SWAN engaged in discussion, story sharing and an exhibition on justice for migrant sex workers.
-The Canadian Association for Refugee and Forced Migration Studies Conference where SWAN presented with University of the Fraser Valley researchers on their joint project examining the effectiveness of human trafficking laws and their impacts on im/migrant sex workers.

In June 2015, SWAN drafted letters to several community organizations opposing their facilitation of planned presentations by Dominique Roe-Sepowitz, co-founder of Project ROSE in Arizona, an anti-sex work program that operates under the guise of anti-trafficking. Project ROSE is extremely harmful to both sex workers and trafficked persons and has drawn widespread international criticism for its human rights violations. Read more here. Due to raising awareness of the harms of  this particular program by SWAN and a number of sex worker support organizations and allies, the hosting organizations decided to cancel the presentations.