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2018-2020 | Funded by Women and Gender Equality Canada

The Supporting Workers' Autonomy Project Yukon (SWAPY) works for and with people who trade sex, providing a peer-led support group and engaging peers both in community and community-based research.

The foundation of this project is learning from peers' expertise. We fully support the autonomy of all workers. We recognize sex work as work. We believe sex workers are the experts of their own experiences and needs.

We support the full decriminalization of sex work.


This six-year project has a two-pronged approach. The first prong includes a Peer-led Support Group for people with lived experience of trading sex, sexualized exploitation or trafficking. The second prong dismantles stigma through a Community of Practice of support and advocacy organizations. Our peer-led support network provides front-line support to peers to connect, heal and build safety networks in an informal environment. Our peer advisory group, project work and community of practice work with sex workers and people who have experienced sexualized exploitation/human trafficking and community agencies to respond effectively to peers' needs, through dialogue, training, and ongoing evaluation work.

The project is centred on:

  • decriminalization & destigmatization;

  • a decolonial, feminist lens; and

  • a rights and labour-based approach.


Just like work in all fields, some workers are targets of sexualized harassment, abuse, and exploitation. Sexualized human trafficking is different. Though it can look like sex work, it is neither sex as there is no consent, nor work as it is forced. It involves kidnapping, rape and enslavement.

It is critical to note that when we conflate sex work and exploitation and trafficking in our policies and services this has far-reaching impacts which cause harm to those engaging in sex work as those who are exploited/trafficked. Part of our work aims to counter these misconceptions and increase safety and options for peers.

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