What’s New

Film Screening
SWAN proudly presents the documentary ‘The Wrong Light‘ followed by a community dialogue ‘Anti-Trafficking Philanthropy: A Cautionary Tale’ on November 6, 2017. This screening is sure to fill up fast so reserve your seat here.

We’re hiring!
The Vancouver Sex Work Community Alliance is hiring a Program Evaluation Analyst.

Annual General Meeting
We are holding our Annual General Meeting Wednesday, October 18, 2017. Please join us 6:30 for refreshments, 7:00 AGM at 1101 Seymour St., Vancouver.

SWAN launches campaign against Operation Northern Spotlight
Operation Northern Spotlight is a project ill-conceived by Durham Regional Police in Ontario in 2014 to “rescue” sex workers from human trafficking by targeting and investigating them. Typically, police officers posing as clients set up dates online with sex workers, through websites like Craigslist and Backpage, then surprise them in hotel rooms. Since 2014, there have been five “waves” of Operation Northern Spotlight coordinated among law enforcement agencies across Canada. The latest campaign in October 2016 involved 53 police agencies in nine provinces working in conjunction with the FBI. Only a few law enforcement agencies in BC participated in 2015 and 2016. On July 6, 2017 SWAN released an Open Letter to BC Law Enforcement Calling for Non-Participation in Operation Northern Spotlight. 

New SWAN Op-ed in collaboration with Pivot Legal Society
Backpage: Sex workers can find safety in online marketplace discusses how shutting down sites such as Backpage won’t end human trafficking, but it will put sex workers at risk.

New Barriers to Justice Community-Led Research Project released by SWAN
In the Fall of 2016, SWAN administered surveys and conducted interviews with im/migrant women engaged in indoor sex work around the lower mainland to explore their experiences and concerns around accessing justice. Full details and results of the project are compiled into the report: Barriers to Justice for Migrant and Immigrant Sex Workers. We will also be releasing easy-to-read infographics summarizing some of the findings for our participants and through social media. Results and recommendations from this project are shared with law enforcement and policy makers to advocate for program and legislative reforms to make sex work safer.

New article featuring SWAN in the Anti-Trafficking Review
The article called ‘A Formidable Task: Reflections on obtaining legal empirical evidence on human trafficking in Canada‘ by Hayli Millar, Tamara O’Doherty and Katrin Roots explores the experiences, challenges and findings of two empirical research studies examining Canada’s legal efforts to combat human trafficking, one of which was conducted in collaboration with SWAN. The authors reflect on some of the difficulties they faced in obtaining empirical data on human trafficking court cases and legal proceedings. They conclude with five recommendations to increase the transparency of Canada’s public claims about its anti-trafficking enforcement efforts and call for more empirically-based law reform.

National Call to Action on Anti-Trafficking
On October 15, 2015 SWAN Vancouver Society hosted an evening of critical dialogue and research called “The Hidden Harms of Anti-Trafficking”. The goal of this event was to expose the troubling trends in anti-trafficking information, campaigns and funding, and address the harms to sex workers associated with these trends.

Today we are launching the “Hidden Harms of Anti-Trafficking” Report where you can watch, read and listen to the critical perspectives presented at this forum.

With this launch, we place a national call to action to “create space” for dialogue on the real, on-the-ground impacts of anti-trafficking in an environment where there is little space to do so at both the local and national level. See below for more details.

Please share our report far and wide, and join the conversation on critical anti-trafficking discourse using the hashtag #harmsofantitrafficking on social media.

The VPD Sex Work Enforcement Guidelines Video
The Vancouver Police Department has released a new video about their Sex Work Enforcement Guidelines to ensure that sex workers and the public know about their focus on safety, respect, and building relationships with people working in sex work, and to reiterate that their enforcement approach does not concern adult consensual sex work. The VPD have also committed to release a Chinese version in 2016.

New Abuser Alert Reporting System
Sometimes you report bad clients and ask us to share this information with other women to help keep everyone safer. Until now, we have not had an effective way to share this information but since you asked, we created an online reporting tool specifically for women working at indoor locations. You can report bad clients for a variety of reasons including: non-payment, theft, assault, stalking, violence, etc. There is even an option to report police officers or bylaws enforcement officers if they are involved in workplace issues. To learn more and/or to report a bad client or law enforcement, click here.

Are you interested in learning more about human trafficking? Do you work with marginalized populations at risk of trafficking and/or exploitation? Do you want to know how to better meet the needs of individuals working in the sex industry? 


SWAN has created an advocacy toolkit to inform the community and service providers about the women we support and to present a critical perspective on human trafficking in Canada. The toolkit was launched at a successful public forum hosted by SWAN in October called ‘The Hidden Harms of Anti-Trafficking’ To view the toolkit in its entirety, please click here or on the toolkit title page.