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Language Guide

SWAN has developed a brief language guide to aid reporters in avoiding harmful language about sex workers. 

This guide is not exhaustive. It should also be noted that language is ever-changing and the recommendations in this guide may shift over time. This document will be updated as needed and readers should check the date and return to this page periodically to look for any changes.

Why does this matter?


Language influences the way people perceive and relate to a subject or issue.


The way people perceive sex work will influence political will toward laws and policies impacting sex workers.


Using archaic and demeaning language—even unintentionally—reinforces stigma and perpetuates stereotypes.

See the full resource for some terms to avoid and recommendations for alternatives.

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