Supporting Workers’ Autonomy Project Yukon (SWAPY)

The Supporting Workers' Autonomy Project Yukon (SWAPY) project emerged from a community need to engage with people with experiences of trading sex or who have experienced sexualized exploitation in the Yukon. The project aims to advance understanding, build accessible support options and engage in meaningful policy change to reduce stigma and improve safety and options for people with lived experience. 

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BACKGROUND

TIMELINE

2019-2025

FUNDERS

  • Women and Gender Equality Canada

  • Government of Yukon (Crime Prevention Victim Services Trust Fund & YG Health & Social Services) *2019-2021

ABOUT

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.

 

Goals:

  • Increase options for people who work in the sex trade industry or have experienced exploitation/trafficking

  • Dissolve stigma through education

  • Amplify, support and learn from peer voices

  • Implement practices, programs and policies that are more accessible, safer, and effective for supporting peers

  • Support social service providers in their ongoing work to be allies

  • Advocate for sex work law reform to reduce harm against people who work in the sex industry and people who have experienced exploitation/trafficking ​

SEX WORK IS WORK!

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.

The project is centred on:

  • decriminalization & destigmatization;

  • a decolonial, feminist lens; and

  • a rights and labour-based approach.

ABOUT CRIMINALIZATION

Learn more about the issue of criminalization of the sex trade industry and its impacts on sex workers.

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