"For years before Operation Northern Spotlight became a national law enforcement strategy, SWAN was voicing our concern about the harms created from such approaches... " (1)
Human trafficking is a serious crime. Operation Northern Spotlight, however, is not the way to address it. Operation Northern Spotlight involves state surveillance and law enforcement actions under the guise of "protection." Police catfish and carry out indiscriminate raids on sex workers, which increase adversarial relationships between sex workers and police and contribute to the under-reporting of violence perpetrated against sex workers.
SWAN continues to advocate against this ill-informed, deeply harmful 'shock and awe' enforcement action that has no evidentiary basis in preventing or reducing human trafficking.
(1) Realities of "Realities of the Anti-Trafficked: How Canada's Human Trafficking Response Increases Vulnerability for Im/Migrant Sex Workers," SWAN's submission to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights on Human Trafficking, 9 March 2018
FORMAL CALLS TO POLICE AGENCIES FROM SEX WORKER GROUPS ACROSS CANADA TO END OPERATION NORTHERN SPOTLIGHT :
2018 (National) - Sex Worker Rights Groups Oppose Police Operation Northern Spotlight
2017 (British Columbia) - Open Letter to BC Law Enforcement Calling for the Non-Participation in Operation Northern Spotlight
2017 (Ontario) - Call to End Participation in Operation Northern Spotlight and Refocus Efforts on Support for Sex Workers
2017 (Newfoundland) - St. John’s Status of Women Council calls for an end to Operation Northern Spotlight
2017 (National) - Turn Off The Spotlight: Sex workers and allies urge an end to Operation Northern Spotlight
10 July 2020: The Capital: "Are Victoria Police Chasing A Sex Trafficking Ring That Doesn’t Exist?"
3 July 2020: Times Colonist: "Victoria police’s human-trafficking sting upsets sex workers’ supporters"
11 Jan 2019: CASWLR Media Release: "Current Anti-Human Trafficking Initiatives Harm Sex Workers"
23 Feb 2018, The Overcast: "Shining a Light on Operation Northern Spotlight"
22 Feb 2018, The Appeal: "A National Campaign to Crack Down on Massage Businesses May Harm the Women it Wants to Help"
23 Nov 2017, The Uniter: "Sex Workers are Not Illegal - Labour, Labels and the Law"
2 Nov 2017, The Independent, Newfoundland & Labrador: "Police need to end Operation Northern Spotlight"
20 Oct 2017, The Telegram: "SHOP wants to turn the spotlight away from sex workers"
17 Oct 2017, NTV News: "Advocacy group says police operation against sex trafficking causing problems"
16 Oct 2017, CBC News: "Police sex trafficking sting doing more harm than good, N.L. groups say"
7 Jul 2017, VICE News: "Why are cops catfishing sex workers in Canada?"
6 Jul 2017, The Globe & Mail: "Sex-worker advocates call for end to B.C. police sting operations"
6 Jul 2017, Global News Radio/The Lynda Steele & Drex Show: "Operation Northern Spotlight is Negatively Affecting Sex Workers"
6 July 2017, The Georgia Straight: "Open letter decries police posing as sex-worker clients in 'repressive' Operation Northern Spotlight"
Winter 2016/17, Project Muse - World Policy Journal: "It's Scary for You... It Has to Be"
25 Oct 2016, Global Network of Sex Work Projects: "Operation Northern Spotlight Targets Sex Workers in Canada"
29 Jan 2014, Global News BC: "Sex worker support group condemns police operation as rights violation"
3 Feb 2014, CBC News: "Undercover police 'dishonest': Hamilton sex worker advocate says"
4 Feb 2014, VICE News: "Canadian Cops Launched a Sting Operation Against Sex Workers Last Month"
POLICE DEFEND THE OPERATION:
18 Oct 2018, CBC News: "Police defend human trafficking sting operation"
18 Oct 2018, The Telegram: "RNC defends Operation Northern Spotlight"
19 Oct 2017, National Post: "Police defend national undercover operation aimed at sex-trade victims"
THE AMERICAN PROGRAM THAT IS THE ROOT OF OPERATION NORTHERN SPOTLIGHT:
13 Aug 2019, (USA) Reason Magazine: "FBI Rebrands National Sex Sting as 'Operation Independence Day"
18 Oct 2017, (USA) Reason Magazine: "Feds 'rescue' Women from Freedom and Money in 11th 'Operation Cross Country'"
photo: Jim Wells / Postmedia, National Post article, 18 Oct 2016