"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored."
~ Aldous Huxley
SWAN carries out evidence-based research and has over the years produced numerous reports, papers, community toolkits, and interactive guides. Our publications deconstruct myths, misperceptions and misinformation about im/migrant women who engage in indoor sex work and the complex stigmas and (often racist) barriers they experience when criminal and immigration law, and anti-immigrant agendas converge.
SWAN’s publications highlight the extremely harmful impacts of hyperbolic, evidence-free, anti-trafficking narratives. These narratives consistently inform unsound policies and enforcement, which perpetuate the very victimization and oppression both ostensibly aim to prevent.
"Human trafficking exists but the discourse surrounding it is muddied with much disinformation. It is unfathomable that sensational trafficking statistics and information found on Google would be given the same weight as sex workers’ lived experiences, not to mention the wealth of empirical evidence which unequivocally demonstrates the harms of criminalization through PCEPA..."
Brief to the Standing Committee on Justice & Human Rights on Bill C-36
Submitted as evidence in the the Parliamentary Review of the Protections of Communities and Exploited Persons Act (PCEPA)
Authors: Alison Clancey & Angela Wu
"The human trafficking discourse in Canada is used as a cover to legislate, limit and curtail the activities of sex workers. It also informs an anti-sex-work crusade, which rehashes misinformation about the sex industry in order to justify ever-increasing anti-trafficking resources..."
Strategic Redirection through Litigation: Forgoing the anti-trafficking framework to address labour abuses experienced by migrant sex workers
Authors: Alison Clancey & Frances Mahon
"Over the past decade, we have seen a reframing of im/migrant sex work as human trafficking, effectively erasing the lived experiences of im/migrant women who do sex work. With this advocacy toolkit, we hope to educate various groups about the realities facing the women we support about the negative impacts of well-intentioned anti-trafficking efforts."
Im/Migrant Sex Workers, Myths & Misconceptions: Realities of the Anti-Trafficked, 2nd Edition
Authors: Kimberly Mackenzie & Alison Clancey
"By way of introduction, we thought we might provide readers with a glimpse into a week in the life of SWAN Vancouver. We are a community-based organization that primarily supports immigrant, migrant and newcomer women in indoor sex work in the Greater Vancouver area. This mainly includes Asian women, but we also work with Latin American, Middle Eastern and European women. There is no such thing as a typical week or day at SWAN, but what we describe below is based on one of the routine check-ins between the Executive Director and the Board."
Sex Work Activism: Chapter 7, ‘SWAN Vancouver- Supporting Immigrant and Migrant Women in the Sex Industry"
Authors: Kimberly Mackenzie & Julie Ham
"[In this chapter we] expose some of the main consequences of a single narrative and exaggerated representations of human trafficking, not only for SWAN and the immigrant and migrant sex workers it supports, but also in relation to the ability of the criminal justice system to successfully prosecute human trafficking cases and to adequately respond to all trafficked persons."
Red Light Labour: Chapter 8, ‘Misrepresentations, Inadequate Evidence and Impediments to Justice: Human Rights Impacts of Canada’s Anti-Trafficking Efforts"
Authors: Dr. Tamara O'Doherty, Dr. Hayli Millar, Alison Clancey (SWAN), Kimberly Mackenzie (SWAN)
"The findings are indicative of the many barriers to accessing the criminal justice system im/migrant sex workers experience, and show a variety of concerns and disadvantages to reporting these kinds of violence."
Barriers to Justice for Migrant & Immigrant Sex Workers: A Community-Led Research Project
Author: Kimberly Mackenzie
"The prevalence and need for pressing attention devoted to combatting human trafficking in Canada was a political theory that received institutional approval and was subsequently assigned to Crown counsel and police departments to enforce —or create."
The Palermo Protocol & Canada: The Evolution and Human Rights Impacts of Anti-Trafficking Laws in Canada (2002-2015)
Authors: Drs. Hayli Millar & Tamara O'Doherty
in collaboration with SWAN Vancouver Society
"Fear of law enforcement and fear of arrest are the two most commonly reported reasons for not seeking assistance from law enforcement. Ninety-five percent of all respondents stated law enforcement would not be a strategy they would use to seek assistance."
Chinese Sex Workers in Toronto & Vancouver
Author: Dr. Julie Ham
"SWAN’s relationship to anti-trafficking funding remains ambivalent, particularly given the history of anti-trafficking measures that have jeopardised the rights of sex workers."
Do Evidence-Based Approaches Alienate Canadian Anti-Trafficking Funders?
Authors: Dr. Julie Ham, Noushin Khushrushahi & Alison Clancey
"Our first objective is to remind the Committee of the stereotypes and racialized assumptions that continue to harm Asian women in sex work... [and] we are extremely concerned that organizations that support the criminalization of clients have also typically confused sex work with trafficking."
Criminalising Clients Endangers Asian, Immigrant and Migrant Women in Sex Work - Brief to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee on Bill C-36
Author: Dr. Julie Ham