Report - The Hidden Harms of Anti-Trafficking
Critical and Evidence-Based Perspectives on Human Trafficking to Enable Ethical and Responsible Anti-Trafficking Efforts
In October 2015, SWAN Vancouver hosted an evening of critical dialogue and research, with the aim of dismantling the hidden harms of the anti-trafficking industry. We hope this report sheds light on the harms anti-trafficking initiatives can inadvertently cause to migrant and immigrant sex workers, and provides insight into how to better advocate for the safety and dignity of all sex workers.
The women we work with are sex workers, not trafficked persons, as self-defined by themselves. These women are affected by mainstream anti-trafficking efforts that confuse diverse issues such as sex work, sexual exploitation, migration, smuggling, domestic violence, among other issues. In October 2015, SWAN held a community forum, 'The Hidden Harms of Anti-Trafficking', where speakers discussed troubling trends in anti-trafficking information, campaigns, and funding. The forum was inspired by a similar event in Toronto in May 2015 - 'The Trouble with Anti-Trafficking'
- in which SWAN participated.
The forum also served as a platform to launch an advocacy toolkit developed by SWAN titled "Im/migrant Sex Workers, Myths and Misconceptions: Realities of the Anti-Trafficked". This toolkit is designed to inform the general public, police, health care providers, media, researchers, and other groups about how to contribute to ethical anti-trafficking efforts.
SWAN would like to acknowledge the ancestral, traditional and unceded Coast Salish territories of the Squamish, Musqueam, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations on whose territory we stand.