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.
 Please click here to view Alison's powerpoint.
Introduction by Alison Clancey
Executive Director of SWAN Vancouver
Alison Clancey introduces the forum by discussing the troubling trends in anti-trafficking initiatives over the past decade. Alison provides an overview of the ‘rescue industry’, and urges stakeholders to have a more critical awareness of the consequences of misinformed anti-trafficking measures. Common goals of honesty, transparency and ethics are highlighted, as Alison encourages anti-trafficking stakeholders to prioritize evidence over ideology.
Alison Clancey is the Executive Director of SWAN. She has extensive experience providing front-line services to sex workers which informs her passions: sex work advocacy, public education, policy reform and activism. Alison’s research interests include critical discourse analysis of human trafficking perspectives. Alison has completed a Bachelors and Masters of Social Work and a Bachelor of Arts. 
University of the Fraser Valley: Social Sciences, Criminology & Criminal Justice 
Dr. Millar and Dr. O’Doherty present their 2015 research project that examines the state of anti-trafficking legal efforts in Canada, “The Palermo Protocol & Canada Ten Years On: The Evolution and Human Rights Impacts of Anti-Trafficking Laws in Canada”. (supported by the Law Foundation of British Columbia, University of the Fraser Valley, and SWAN Vancouver Society). This comprehensive study examined Canada’s use of anti-trafficking legislation, and the resulting consequences for one of the groups that has been identified as being particularly vulnerable to human trafficking: migrant sex workers.
 Please click here to view Dr. Millar and Dr. O'Doherty's Powerpoint presentation.
Dr. Millar and Dr. O'Doherty examine how Canada's criminal laws have codified the conflation of consensual adult sex work and human trafficking, and dismantle commonly cited trafficking statistics. Research findings highlight the following themes: politicization and knowledge production, conceptual and definitional challenges, factors affecting investigation and prosecution, and Criminal Justice personnel recommendations. 
Dr. Hayli Millar has a PhD in international law and MA and BA degrees in criminology. She has lived and worked internationally as a consultant to the United Nations and as a gender, law and development specialist for the Asian Development Bank on a research project assessing South Asia’s regional anti-human trafficking convention.  Hayli has conducted desk and field research in several countries, including in Canada’s Northwest Territories and Yukon Territory on sexual assault sentencing decisions, alternative dispute resolution, and Indigenous community justice. She has written various technical reports, published an article on women and truth commissions, and is a contributor/co-author for a University of the Fraser Valley study on the situation of Canadian children experiencing parental incarceration.

Dr. Tamara O'Doherty has completed a BA in Criminal Justice, a JD (law degree), a MA in Criminology, and a PhD in Criminology. She has extensive experience with collaborative research, mixed methodologies and legal analysis. Tamara has published in peer-reviewed journals and other academic books on the effects of criminalization on marginalized populations, victimization in Canada's sex industries, feminist theory, criminal law, and collaborative research methods. Dr. O'Doherty recently published her Ph.D dissertation, "Victimization in Canada's Off-Street Sex Industry."
Assistant Professor of Critical Indigenous Geographies, University of British Columbia
Dr. Sarah Hunt discusses her experience working with Indigenous communities across British Columbia in the early 2000s in anti-violence initiatives, with an emphasis on youth sexual exploitation. Dr. Hunt critically examines the consequences of federal trafficking narratives for Indigenous women and communities, and how these narratives harm the very communities they are intended to protect. Sex work and sexual exploitation occur in these communities as a result of a lack of access to infrastructure and services, lack of resources, and the legacies of colonialism. This occurs within a broader context of federal anti-trafficking initiatives that intentionally conflate both sex work and sexual exploitation with human trafficking. In this presentation Dr. Hunt reframes the issues of exploitation and violence against consensual Indigenous sex workers in order to draw attention to government inaction.
 Click here for part 2 of the video. To view Dr. Hunt's PowerPoint presentation, click here.
Dr. Sarah Hunt is a Kwagiulth scholar whose transdisciplinary research critically takes questions of violence, law, resistance, Indigenous resurgence, and self-determination. Dr. Hunt's research and writing emerge from 15 years of work as a community-based researcher and educator in rural and urban Indigenous communities. Her work on human trafficking began in the late 90s when she was involved with GAATW Canada - an organization she collaborated with more recently, as part of a team conducting research on anti-trafficking discourse during the 2010 Olympics.

Sarah has published on a range of issues related to neo-colonial power relations and decolonization, including topics of gender and sexuality, sex work, the politicization of everyday resistance, and Indigenous research and education. Sarah recently joined UBC as assistant professor in the First Nations and Indigenous Studies Program and Department of Geography. 
Member, Butterfly - Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Network
With an engineering background, Mary W is a supporter of sex work, believing it is an alternative means of making a living and sustaining a healthy society. She has written/co-edited Butterfly newsletters to inspire migrant workers to be strong, to be aware about their rights and obligations, to fight against social stigma, to express their voices, and to remove barriers between them and the mainstream community.
Mary W. shares the story of Annie, who migrated to Canada independently as a skilled worker. She discusses the difficulties that Annie encountered with getting her credentials recognized and her experiences of racism, sexism, rape and isolation. In addition to this, Annie also struggled financially, having become a single mother shortly after arriving in Canada. Working long hours in multiple jobs in which she was overqualified and underpaid, she sought alternatives and decided to work in a massage parlour. She found working in a massage parlour both empowering and emotionally rewarding, as she was able to financially provide for herself and her family, was appreciated in her work, and was also able to offer therapeutic services to clients. Mary discusses the further challenges Annie faced that acted as barriers to her safety and dignity as a sex worker, primarily related to stigma, law enforcement, and victimization.
Founder, Butterfly - Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Network
Elene Lam discusses the dialogue around sex work and women of colour, and the preconceived notions and harmful assumptions that these women are trafficked. The process of 'rescue,' as intended by anti-trafficking initiatives, instead forces these women to leave the sex industry; this forced departure thereby amounts to a subsequent seizure of their financial independence and well-being, as well as their control over their bodies. Elene also examines the racialized dynamics of criminalization and victimization in the sex industry. 
Elene Lam has completed a Bachelors and Masters of Laws and a Bachelor and Masters of Social Work. Elene has advocated for the sex workers, migrant, labour and gender justice for more than 15 years. She is the co-founder of Migrant Sex Workers Project, and founder of Butterfly: Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Network, an advocacy and support organization for sex workers based out of Toronto, Canada.
Assistant Professor of Criminology, Department of Sociology: Hong Kong University
Dr. Julie Ham analyses the challenges and limitations of the ‘migrant sex worker’ category by discussing her research with immigrant, migrant and racialized women sex workers in Vancouver, Canada and Melbourne, Australia. She contrasts law enforcement and policy understandings of the ‘migrant sex worker’ label against the lived realities of women sex workers who occupy a range of citizenship or residency statuses (including naturalized citizens, permanent residents and temporary migrants) and their diverse perspectives on national identity and belonging in Canada. Within Canada, racial or ethnic difference continues to be used as an often inaccurate but convenient indicator of ‘migrant’ status in the sex industry. 
Dr. Julie Ham is Assistant Professor of Criminology in the Sociology Department at the University of Hong Kong. She has published on sex work, anti-trafficking, and gender and migration.  Prior to joining the University of Hong Kong, Julie worked with the Border Crossing Observatory (Monash University), the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women(GAATW) and with community organizations in Canada, working with sex workers, immigrant and refugee communities, low-income urban communities, and women'sorganizations. She is also a Board Member of SWAN.
Outreach Coordinator at SWAN Vancouver
Kimberly Mackenzie highlights the origins of SWAN's advocacy toolkit, which was created to highlight the realities of im/migrant sex workers. She discusses the consequences of anti-trafficking rhetoric that SWAN has witnessed, including anti-trafficking raids in massage parlours by police and deportations by Canada Border Services Agency. Kimberly discusses the challenges that politicized anti-trafficking rhetoric can create for sex worker support organizations, such as SWAN. Kimberly concludes by suggesting ways for stakeholders to engage in ethical and responsible anti-trafficking work.
Kimberly Mackenzie received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of the Fraser Valley in 2011 with a major in Psychology and an extended minor in Criminology. She is currently the Outreach Coordinator for SWAN Vancouver Society while she pursues her Masters of Public Policy at Simon Fraser University. 
SWAN's Advocacy Toolkit
Additional Critical Anti-Trafficking Videos and Resources
SWAN has created an advocacy toolkit that presents a critical perspective on human trafficking efforts. This toolkit was created as a result of intensive consultation, field work, collaboration, and research on anti-trafficking criminal and immigration laws in Canada. It provides specific guidelines and information on how to interact respectfully with immigrant and migrant sex workers, for the following stakeholders: social service providers, health care providers, immigrant support workers, faith-based communities, CBSA, police, bylaws enforcement officers, researchers, policy makers, media and the general public. SWAN Vancouver asks that you share this resource widely to help meet the goal of addressing human trafficking in an ethical, informed and responsible manner.
As evidence-based approaches gain traction, the wealth of critical anti-trafficking resources continues to grow. SWAN would like to highlight resources that we find insightful and informative. Please continue to check this page for future additions to this list. 
If you are interested in learning more about human trafficking from an evidence-based, critical perspective, please see The Trouble with Anti-Trafficking report from the May 2015 Toronto forum.
If you are interested in hearing the voices of migrant sex workers themselves, please see the project, Butterfly Voices: Collecting Stores of Migrant Sex Workers Around The World.

Butterfly, an advocacy organization based out of Toronto, invited self-identified sex workers around the world to participate in the “Butterfly Voices”, a project that collect voices of migrant workers, who are often silenced because of the lack of understanding, systemic oppression, and stigma in society. Community artist Alvis Choi created an installation to showcase a collection of art and stories created and shared by migrant sex workers. Each butterfly, drawn by Toronto-based artist Sarah Mangle, was coloured and decorated by participants. Each butterfly represents the voice of a migrant sex worker.
SWAN would like to thank all guests and participants for attending The Hidden Harms of Anti-Trafficking forum. We would like to thank those who contributed to the discussion #harmsofantitrafficking during the event and encourage people to continue using this hashtag to raise awareness. Additionally, we would like to thank SWAN staff and volunteers for offering their time, dedication, and ongoing support to SWAN and our network. We would also like to thank Kerry Porth for moderating the event, and Tim for the videos and recordings.

We are a small non-profit organization that strives to make a big difference. If you would like to support our work in challenging the well-financed and powerful anti-trafficking industrial complex, please consider supporting our work with a donation - every bit counts!
 FINALLY, SWAN Vancouver issues a national call to action for anti-trafficking to bring awareness to troubling trends in anti-trafficking campaigns, fundraising and actions. 
Since 2004, SWAN has been providing services to newcomer, migrant and immigrant women engaged in indoor sex work throughout the Lower Mainland. In addition to providing direct support services, SWAN advocates on many levels with community, law enforcement and government to bring forward the opinions of the women we support into public policy. We work to raise public awareness and knowledge of the local and international dimensions of sex work and migration, and promote critical perspectives on human trafficking.  We envision a society in which sex work stigma, discrimination and inequities are eliminated and community acceptance, supports and resources exist for individuals who engage in sex work.