What’s New

SWAN Launches Respect Campaign for Victims & Survivors of Crime Week May 2018
Based on migrant sex workers’ experiences with police in 2017-2018, SWAN launched ‘Building a Culture of Respect: Police and Sex Workers‘. This campaign is targeted at police and focuses on the fundamental principle that is imperative in any interaction between police and sex workers – respect. Watch the project launch and download and share the SWAN Respect Infographic. SWAN would like to thank the Department of Justice Canada for funding this campaign.

Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights (Human Trafficking)
On March 23, 2018 SWAN appeared before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. The Committee traveled across Canada in March to learn more about human trafficking. Read SWAN’s Brief to the Committee here.

Photovoice Project
In 2017-2018, SWAN is working on a one-year project to address misinformation and stigma about im/migrant women who work in the massage shops and apartments. SWAN’s Photovoice project will provide im/migrant sex workers an opportunity to self-represent their lived experience and bring forth a dimension, a reality and a perspective society has neglected and dismissed. The project will culminate in Fall 2018 with a public photo exhibition. SWAN would like to thank our funder LUSH cosmetics.

Building Community
On November 30, 2017 SWAN hosted a number of staff from immigrant-serving agencies for a knowledge exchange titled, “Building Organizational Capacity to Address Sex Work-Related Issues Among Migrant & Immigrant Women”.

Film Screening
On November 6, 2017 SWAN proudly presented the documentary ‘The Wrong Light‘ followed by a community dialogue ‘Anti-Trafficking Philanthropy: A Cautionary Tale’.

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.

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. 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.

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.

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.