For your convenience, we have listed all of SWAN’s “Responsible Reporting” media project resources below, with a brief description of the resource, its target audience and how it may be helpful. 
The aim of the media project is to help inform journalists about the nuances of sex work and the importance of ethical reporting. However, any of the resources created for this project may be of interest or of use to the general public and we encourage everyone to check them out.

Human trafficking/Anti-trafficking

1. ANTI-TRAFFICKING LAWS

This resource is a combination of a backgrounder and an analysis and provides a summary explanation of Canada’s Criminal Code offences related to human trafficking. It also explains how these anti-trafficking laws conflate sex work with human trafficking.

Target audience: Journalists or anyone interested.

Helpful for: Gaining a summary understanding of Canada’s anti-trafficking offences in the Criminal Code and how they impact sex work(ers).

2. EXPERT TAKE: QUESTIONS TO ASK ABOUT HUMAN TRAFFICKING 'FACTS' & STATISTICS

This resource was developed by two subject matter experts — Dr. Tamara O’Doherty and Dr. Hayli Millar. They lay out and explain some of the key questions that journalists should be asking and exploring with their sources before writing anything on human trafficking.

Target audience: Journalists. 

Helpful for: Exposure to common sources of mis/disinformation in anti-trafficking agendas and statistics and useful information for more critical engagement with sources on this subject.

3. INTRO TO THE HARMS OF ANTI-TRAFFICKING

This resource introduces readers to the concept of anti-trafficking harm, why anti-trafficking has become such a sensationalized and popular topic in media and political discourse, and what this means for sex workers (especially im/migrant sex workers) when human trafficking and sex work are conflated and treated as the same thing. 

Target audience: Journalists or anyone interested. 

Helpful for: An introduction to the complex topic of anti-trafficking, the ways anti-trafficking initiatives conflate human trafficking with sex work and how this harms sex workers.

Legislation & legal cases

4. BEDFORD V. CANADA

This resource introduces the Bedford v. Canada legal case that successfully challenged the constitutionality of Canada’s previous prostitution laws. It explains the origins of the case, how it progressed through the court system and the ultimate decision by the Supreme Court of Canada in 2013. 

Target audience: Journalists or anyone interested.

Helpful for: Familiarization with the constitutional problems inherent in Canada’s laws on sex work, as well as the history of sex workers coming together to challenge them and fight for their rights. 

5. IMMIGRATION AND REFUGEE PROTECTION REGULATIONS (IRPR) SEX WORK PROHIBITION BACKGROUNDER

This resource introduces the amendments made to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) in 2013 that prohibit temporary residents from working in the sex industry. 

Target audience: Journalists or anyone interested.

Helpful for: Understanding the provisions specific to im/migrants that make working in the sex industry illegal for this population.

6. IMMIGRATION AND REFUGEE PROTECTION REGULATIONS (IRPR) SEX WORK PROHIBITION ANALYSIS

As a follow up to the IRPR Sex Work Prohibition Backgrounder, this resource goes into more detail about how the sex work prohibition criminalizes im/migrant sex workers beyond the criminalization already present in Canada’s Criminal Code.

Target audience: Journalists or anyone interested.

Helpful for: Understanding how the IRPR sex work prohibition unfairly puts im/migrant sex workers at risk of detention and deportation for an activity that is legal for Canadians and permanent residents.

7. IMMIGRATION AND REFUGEE PROTECTION REGULATIONS (IRPR) SEX WORK PROHIBITION CHARTER VIOLATIONS

The third installment in the IRPR series, this resource details how the sex work prohibition is unconstitutional as it violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  

Target audience: Journalists or anyone interested.

Helpful for: Understanding how the IRPR’s sex work prohibition for temporary residents violates Charter sections 7 (life, liberty and security of the person) and 15 (equality).

8. LEGISLATIVE FRAMEWORKS FOR SEX WORK

In a table format, this resource lays out the four possible legal frameworks for sex work — full criminalization, partial decriminalization, legalization, and full decriminalization — while showing how each model would impact metrics like level of societal stigma, risk of violence, access to basic rights, etc.

Target audience: Journalists or anyone interested.

Helpful for: Gaining an overview of how Canada’s current laws affect sex work(ers) and what sex work might look like under other possible models.

9. PROTECTION OF COMMUNITIES AND EXPLOITED PERSONS ACT (PCEPA) BACKGROUNDER

A brief introduction to the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act (PCEPA). This resource lists and describes the provisions that impact sex work in Canada, such as the purchasing, advertising, material benefit, procuring and communicating offences. 

Target audience: Journalists or anyone interested.

Helpful for: Gaining basic knowledge of what PCEPA is and how it relates to the criminalization of sex work in Canada.

10. PROTECTION OF COMMUNITIES AND EXPLOITED PERSONS ACT (PCEPA) ANALYSIS

This resource is a follow up to the PCEPA Backgrounder and goes into more depth about how the provisions in PCEPA impact sex work in Canada. 

Target audience: Journalists or anyone interested.

Helpful for: Gaining a summary understanding of how PCEPA harms sex workers.

11. SEX WORK LAWS IN CANADA

This resource lists a number of important milestones in sex work law in Canada.

Target audience: Journalists or anyone interested. 

Helpful for: Getting an overview of the legal chronology of sex work law and policy in Canada, including things such as the Supreme Court decision on Canada (Attorney General) v. Bedford, the amendments to the IRPR that resulted in sex work prohibition for temporary residents and the implementation of PCEPA.

Media

12. CURRENT JOURNALISTIC REPRESENTATION: ASSESSMENT & SUGGESTIONS FROM IM/MIGRANT WOMEN ENGAGED IN INDOOR SEX WORK

This resource was developed from a focus group of im/migrant women working in the indoor sex industry in Vancouver. In the women’s exact words, this resource explains some of the problems with current journalistic representation of sex work(ers) and suggestions for improvement. 

Target audience: Journalists or anyone interested.

Helpful for: Hearing first-hand the negative impacts of irresponsible journalism and how it personally impacts a group of women engaged in sex work.

13. INTERVIEWING SEX WORKERS

This resource explains the realities of interviewing sex workers — especially im/migrant sex workers — and why this might not be feasible for a journalist. 

Target audience: Journalists. 

Helpful for: Understanding how im/migrant sex workers are at risk of criminalization, deportation, and potential violence through media exposure and how this complicates including their voices in journalistic reporting on sex work(ers).

14. LANGUAGE MATTERS

This resource explains the importance of language when reporting on sex work(ers) and how outdated terms can perpetuate stereotypes, dehumanize people, and contribute to the harmful conflation of sex work with human trafficking.

Target audience: Journalists.

Helpful for: Understanding why language matters, as well as getting familiar with specific terms, phrases, and narratives that need to be changed.

15. SHARING AND SYNDICATED NEWS ARTICLES

This resource discusses the ethics of sharing sex workers’ stories and syndicating news articles across different markets.  

Target audience: Journalists. 

Helpful for: Gaining an understanding of the importance of responsible sharing/syndication and how it impacts sex workers.

16. WHAT TO CONSIDER WHEN WRITING SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS

This resource discusses the ethics of writing for social media about sex work(ers).  

Target audience: Journalists.

Helpful for: Understanding the impact that social media copy, hashtags and imagery can have when shared on social media platforms and what to consider to make your posts more ethical.

17. WRITING HEADLINES ABOUT IM/MIGRANT SEX WORK

This resource discusses the ethics of writing headlines about sex work(ers).

Target audience: Journalists.

Helpful for: Understanding how poorly worded headlines can impact the sex work community  and contribute to misinformation, stereotypes, dehumanization, stigma and the conflation of sex work with human trafficking. 

Miscellaneous

18. SWAN Glossary of Terms

This glossary lists and defines terms commonly used or seen by SWAN in the course of our work with im/migrant sex workers in the community. 

Target audience: Journalists or anyone interested.

Helpful for: Exposure to terminology related to sex work and the sex work community.

Mailing Address

#325 - 1101 Seymour Street
Vancouver, BC
V6B 0R1