xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) territory/Vancouver, B.C. – SWAN Vancouver (SWAN) is launching ResponsibleReporting.ca, a new online hub with resources to make it easier for newsrooms to report on sex work and the laws and regulations in Canada. The website includes quick facts, timelines, analyses and guides written by experts, to encourage ethical and evidence-based reporting.
“We understand journalists can’t be experts in every subject and they’re working with fewer resources than ever to cover very complex and nuanced topics,” said Victoria Curtis, Project Manager. “With ResponsibleReporting.ca they can easily find information such as dates and links to landmark legal decisions or an overview of why the migrants we support can’t call the police or access healthcare like other people can.”
Im/migrant women in sex work face criminalization under Canada’s prostitution laws through the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act, while migrants can also be arrested, detained and deported for doing sex work under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations. These laws and policies create barriers for women who need to call the police or access healthcare and other mainstream services.
SWAN is also releasing a series of animated videos to demonstrate how reporting impacts im/migrant women engaged in indoor sex work. The videos also show how misinformation in many mainstream anti-trafficking campaigns and law enforcement initiatives puts im/migrant workers in danger while missing actual trafficking victims.
“Many anti-trafficking campaigns use overly broad, racist stereotypes that lead the public to believe that trafficking is everywhere,” said Angela Wu, Executive Director. “They see sex workers as victims simply because they are from another country, don’t speak English or maybe send money overseas to their relatives. Anti-trafficking campaigns often target im/migrant women who just want to earn a living, access healthcare and justice, and live without fear of deportation or family separation. The women we support are up against an onslaught of misinformation about their jobs that they often can’t address directly because many of them can be deported if they are found out to be sex workers.”
Women engaged in sex work informed this project through a series of focus groups examining media reports of indoor sex work. ResponsibleReporting.ca includes 20 resources and more are in development. SWAN is also recruiting journalists to participate in focus groups in the new year to gather feedback to improve the project and encourage newsrooms to adopt these resources in their everyday reporting.
Available for interviews:
Victoria Curtis, Project Manager
Angela Wu, Executive Director
To book an interview, please contact:
Crystal Laderas, Communications Manager
About SWAN Vancouver
SWAN Vancouver promotes the rights, health, and safety of im/migrant women engaged in indoor sex work through front-line service and advocacy. The organization grew out of a pilot project that provided safer sex supplies to massage businesses. SWAN extended its services to address healthcare, immigration, safety and other concerns.
This project has been funded by Women and Gender Equality Canada.
Media for broadcast and online use: