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.
New SWANzine for Spring 2017
Topics include: SWAN expansion, taxes, money, housing among others. To view our SWANzine, please click here.
Dr. Julie Ham, President of SWAN’s Board of Directors, has published a new book called ‘Sex Work, Immigration and Social Difference’
Public discourses around migrant sex workers are often more confident about what migrant sex workers signify morally but are less clear about who the ‘migrant’ is. Based on interviews with immigrant, migrant and racialized sex workers in Vancouver, Canada and Melbourne, Australia, Sex Work, Immigration and Social Difference challenges the ‘migrant sex worker’ category by investigating the experiences of women who are often assumed to be ‘migrant sex workers’ in Australia and Canada. Congratulations Dr. Ham!
SWAN Press Release March 21 2016: SWAN Vancouver Society Urges Inclusion of Critical Perspectives at National Anti-Trafficking Forum
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.
SWAN’s President Dr. Julie Ham has published her dissertation: “Sex work, immigration, and social difference”
Excerpt from abstract:
“Public discourses around ‘migrant sex workers’ are often more confident about what migrant sex workers signify morally (i.e. vulnerability, criminality) but are less clear about who the ‘migrant’ is. This thesis interrogates the implications of the ‘migrant sex worker’ category based on semi-structured interviews with 65 immigrant, migrant and racialised women in sex work and two support staff in Melbourne, Australia and Vancouver, Canada during 2013–2014. Specifically, I employ an intersectional theoretical lens to investigate how this group of sex workers negotiate their security, agency and mobility across contrasting regulatory frameworks in these two cities.”
To read the entire dissertation, click here.
“I want to thank all of the interviewees, who generously shared their knowledge, wit and candor with me during the course of this research. I have only captured a glimpse of their knowledge in this thesis, but I hope to do justice in future endeavours to the experiences and wisdom they so generously shared.” – Dr. Julie Ham
Dr. Ham’s thesis will also be published by Routledge in 2016. Congratulations Dr. Ham!
SWAN has published our final article in the latest issue of Positive Living magazine!
Positive Living magazine is an innovative, bi-monthly magazine that provides informative, current information on a broad range of HIV/AIDS topics including treatment, prevention, advocacy and other key issues. The following articles are from the 4-part series submitted by SWAN staff. The first article outlines the myths and realities of migrant and immigrant sex workers in Vancouver. Article found on pg. 14. The second article discusses the displacement of im/migrant sex workers. Article found on page 20. The third article is on the future of sex work and HIV prevention with Amnesty International’s support for sex workers’ rights. Article found on page 23. The final article is on the on the hidden harms of anti-trafficking and can be found on pg. 18.
New Online Service Available for STI Testing
GetCheckedOnline is a free and confidential online sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing service provided by the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC). In a few steps, you can print a lab form, then go to a participating LifeLabs site to give your samples and get your results online or over the phone. You do not need to give your real name or date of birth; you just need an email or phone number that functions as your identifier. Please note that this service currently only tests for HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and Hepatitis C. If you are interested in using this service, please contact us at email@example.com or 604-719-6343 to receive a promotional code to get started. To access the service or find out more, click here.
Pivot “Know Your Rights” Cards
On December 3, 2015, Pivot Legal Society launched new legal rights cards that outline the new sex work laws in Canada, as well as the Vancouver Police Department’s approach to sex work in concise and easy-to-read pocket cards.
Canada’s Sex Work Laws (English)
Canada’s Sex Work Laws (Chinese)
Canada’s Sex Work Laws (French)
Vancouver Police and Sex Workers: Know Your Rights (English)
To read more about the cards, click here.
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.
SWAN and University of Fraser Valley release collaborative research findings ‘The Palermo Protocol & Canada: The Evolution and Human Rights Impacts of Anti-Trafficking Laws in Canada (2002-2015).” This collaborative research project by University of Fraser Valley Criminologists Dr.Hayli Millar & Tamara O’Doherty and SWAN Vancouver Society critically assesses the state of Canadian anti-trafficking legal efforts in the more than ten years after ratifying the UN Trafficking (Palermo) Protocol.In this first report, we share our key preliminary findings and recommendations, including the vital need to increase the presence and awareness of im/migrant sex workers’ needs, realities and perspectives in the dominant discourse on human trafficking in the Canadian context and to contest a single, highly gendered, racialized and inadvertently harmful narrative that conflates sex work with human trafficking.
New Report on Chinese Sex Workers in Vancouver and Toronto (Click here for Press Release)
SWAN has collaborated with the Massage Parlour Outreach Project at Agincourt Community Services Association (ACSA) in Toronto and Ziteng in Hong Kong to research and report on Chinese sex workers’ experiences working in Toronto and Vancouver. Ziteng initiated this research for sex workers in Hong Kong that were interested in learning how to work safely and effectively in Canada. To read the full report, click here.