Sex Workers Action Group (SWAG)

Location

Ontario
Canada
Contact email: 
swagkingston@gmail.com
Who do you work with?: 
We work with female, male and trans sex workers along with providing education to community members. SWAG is open to supporting sex workers of any age.
How are sex workers involved in your organisation?: 
Sex workers have a lead role in all aspects of SWAG including policy discussions, decision making, strategic planning, peer support and community education.
Which of NSWP priority areas does your organisation work on?: 
Oppose the criminalisation and other legal oppression of sex work and support its recognition as work
Critique the trafficking paradigm that conflates representations of sex work, migration, and mobility
Advocate for universal access to health services, including primary health care, HIV and sexual and reproductive health services
Speak out about violence against sex workers, including violence from police, institutions, clients, and intimate partners, while challenging the myth that sex work is inherently gender-based violence
Oppose human rights abuses, including coercive programming, mandatory testing, raids and forced rehabilitation
Challenge stigma and discrimination against sex workers, their families and partners, and others involved in sex work
Advocate for the economic empowerment and social inclusion of sex workers as sex workers
What are the two main challenges that the sex workers you work with face: 
Shame is one of the biggest challenges SWAG faces. Kingston has had no sex worker rights organizing prior to SWAG. Messaging for sex workers in this city is either "it is bad" or "we need to rescue those poor sex workers" Although we have worked hard at doing rights based education in the community, these attitudes prevail. Sex workers get these messages loud and clear which makes connecting with workers challenging.
Describe other areas of your work: 
Advocacy for sex workers around reducing stigma, speaking out against police violence, weekly drop in, community education, fundraising, sex worker support, resources and referrals.