We Are SWANS
Supporting Sex Workers since 2012.
SWANS is a not-for-profit organization of sex workers (current and past) and allies, working together to improve the overall health, wellbeing and working conditions of sex workers in Sudbury. We offer a range of services including outreach, support, education & more.
All femme-identified sex workers, past and present, are welcome to access our services.
Sex Workers are valuable members of our community, and are entitled to the same rights & opportunities as all other human beings. Our mission at SWANS is to support & improve sex worker’s overall health, wellbeing and protection of human rights. We strive to do this through innovative and holistic approaches to all aspects of health (sexual, physical, mental and spiritual), community inclusion, as well as access to services and support. We support safer personal and working conditions through education, advocacy, referral & peer support.
That sex work is valid work
In workplace rights for sex workers
In the full decriminalization of sex work in Canada
In the self-determination of sex workers
In the value of lived experience
In holistic approaches to health and wellbeing
In the diversity and complexities of sex workers and their experiences of the industry
In the monetary recognition of sex workers for experiential knowledge sharing, consultation & peer work
We envision a future where sex work is decriminalized and respected as real work. Where all sex workers are able to live free from the risk of violence, discrimination, exploitation, social stigmas, and any other harms. Where they may enjoy a sense of happiness and social inclusion while being afforded the same rights as all other community members, including: the rights to life, liberty, security of the person, and equal protection under the law.
We hope for long-term commitments to social change within all levels of government and individual citizens to eradicate systemic issues that create disproportionate levels of poverty, homelessness, health concerns, and substance use within the Sex Work community, so that individuals can make safe, healthy, and informed decisions in their lives.
Meet The Team
Founder & Executive Director
Sex work has played a fundamental role in all aspects of my life, and my lived experience has defined how I move through the world. I am a fierce activist, advocate and ally committed to building and strengthening a community that is meaningfully inclusive of sex workers. I am so blessed to work alongside an amazing and talented group of self determined women and queering community members who fight for the rights of all. I draw my strength from the women of SWANS for their courage, wisdom and fierce commitment to making their voices heard, and I am beyond grateful for the generous sharing of stories, time, expertise and energy. This is my dream come true xox
Nothing About Us Without Us!
I am from anywhere with my Lover. I am from salt water and beach finds. I am from the smell of the catch of the day and the Atlantic Ocean. I am from the sound of deep beats and wind chimes. I am from homemade baking made by chubby little hands. I am from family pictures with a beautiful old mall Santa. I am from forgiveness, resilience and “just show the fuck up.” I am from learning that Love is a safe place to fall. –XXX–
SWANS began in 2012 as part of a program with Réseau ACCESS Network. Our goal was to increase knowledge and support for people living with - or at risk of - HIV/HEP C within the sex working community. Through this program, a small group of women with lived experience in diverse areas of the sex-work industry informally organized as the Sex Workers Advisory Network of Sudbury. We came together as people with shared experiences of isolation, stigma, discrimination, and criminalization in relation to our work.
Our intention was to create a stigma-free space where sex workers could come together. It was a space to discuss on issues, concerns and gaps in service - including sexual health, barriers to protection and lack of law enforcement recourse.
We all agreed that criminalization was a barrier to support & perpetuated our risks of violence.
In 2018, SWANS became an independent organization. Since then, we have organized 3 successful “Building Inclusive Communities with Sex Workers Conferences”. We have facilitated well-attended sex-worker exclusive workshops including: Speaker Training & Media Training. We’ve also organized very successful information exchange events for non-sex working service providers in the region.
We have joined the Canadian Alliance for Sex Work Law Reform, and made invaluable connections other sex-worker & allied groups across Canada.
Today, SWANS is incorporated as a non-profit organization.
We support current & past sex workers on their terms. We are a ‘by sex-workers, for sex-workers’ organization that prioritizes the right of workers self-determination and their own assessment of their needs. Our support for sex workers in our community is unwavering. We offer individual case-by-case support, outreach and community drop-ins; help accessing other community services and resources; paid opportunities for sharing lived experience with trusted community members; empowerment and educational opportunities; and so much more.
We continue to offer educational training and information to non sex working service providers & organizations who want to make their services more accessible and relevant to sex workers. We have strong allied relationships with community members who understand that sex work is real and valid work, and who respect people with lived experience as the holders of valuable knowledge, wisdom and experience.
We continue to seek funding to grow our work.