News & Updates > Harms of Anti-Trafficking

Harms of Anti-Trafficking

Oct 25, 2020 | Campaigns

‘Anti-Trafficking: Harming While Trying to Help’

SWAN’s project, ‘Anti-Trafficking: Harming While Trying to Help’ looks at how mainstream anti-trafficking campaigns can be ineffective and even detrimental to the cause.

Through this project, we hope to raise awareness about these unintended harms of anti-trafficking and encourage alternative approaches that will result in more responsible and ethical campaigns.

We have created a short video illustrating the harms of anti-trafficking campaigns, especially the impacts to im/migrant sex workers like Su-Lin.

There is also a companion guide to the video, “Transforming Anti-Trafficking Sentiment into Effective Action”, which provides more context relating to harmful anti-trafficking campaigns, and suggests ways to ensure that future efforts do not cause harm.

The project launched on October 25, 2020 with a moderated panel discussion featuring four leaders in the global discourse about ethical approaches to addressing human trafficking: Dr. Kamala Kempadoo (Brown University), Dr. Tamara O’Doherty (Simon Fraser University), Dr. Annalee Lepp (University of Victoria; Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women Canada), and Dr. Joel Quirk (University of Witwatersrand).

From 2020 to 2022, a Harms of Anti-Trafficking Action Group was convened locally in Greater Vancouver to bring forward ineffective or harmful anti-trafficking campaigns and strategize ways to approach the individuals or groups for the purpose of making the campaign more effective and less harmful.

Lastly, the project included an interactive webpage where people can share transformative actions or mindshifts as a result of their learning.

Anti-Trafficking Harming While Trying to Help

You can access all campaign resources, including the video, guidebook, webinar, and reading list here.

More critical anti-trafficking resources are also available here.

LUSH Cosmetics funded this project.

Take Action


Your generosity helps us promote the rights, health, and safety of im/migrant women engaged in indoor sex work through frontline service and systemic advocacy.


Our resources explain difference between sex work and human trafficking and the ways in which mainstream anti-trafficking campaigns cause harm.


This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.