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Language Matters

Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words can never hurt you? 

Language can actually have a profound impact. Language shapes our “normal” — the way we think, the way we feel about something and the way we pass those thoughts and feelings on to others. 

How does language affect the sex work community?

A journalist’s choice of words can impact and cause harm to the sex work community in many ways:

  • Conflation of sex work with human trafficking
  • Perpetuation of stereotypes 
  • Removal of agency
  • Dehumanization

See our full resource for more details on how your language matters and the implications for im/migrant women engaged in sex work.

Check out SWAN’s summary of the harms of anti-trafficking for sex workers.

See here for a resource on how journalistic representation directly affects im/migrant women engaged in sex work — in the women’s own words.

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