Aims and Principles

The Sex Workers Alliance of Vancouver (SWAV) was founded in 1994 to fight for sex workers' right to fair wages and to working conditions that are safe, clean and healthy. Its members are people who work or have worked in the sex industry, and our friends. We meet informally to develop and implement ways to make the sex trade a safer and healthier occupation.

With this aim SWAV opposes any law that
criminalizes sex work.

Everyone has rights, regardless of what they do for a living. When prostitution is made a crime, sex workers are prevented from working together for greater security, organizing to improve working conditions, getting health and dental plans, and sharing and investing earnings. Laws prohibiting sex work force sex workers into an environment of crime where their rights are not protected. Factors that keep sex workers from getting help when they have been victimized are fear of being busted, outstanding warrants and the likelyhood of being treated as unreliable witnesses with no credibility. Decriminalization would provide sex workers with real protection from people who rob, rape, assault, and harass them.

SWAV provides information about sex work as it relates to laws, sexual health, commerce and culture.

Currently, SWAV publishes a Bad Calls List (a database of descriptions of violent men who rip off or assault prostitutes who make dates over the phone), provides health and legal information and free condoms, and sponsors the Commercial Sex Information Service website. Members are available to support others working in the sex trade and to educate service providers and policy-makers about the needs of sex workers.


SWAV is open to anyone who works or has worked in the sex trade: prostitutes, exotic dancers, porn performers; whether you work in escort services, in bars, in massage parlours, on the street, or through classified ads. We also welcome close friends and supporters. You must also agree with the aims and principles of the organization.

If you know anyone working in the sex trade who could use a little friendly support from people who understand this business from the inside, let them know about us and give them our number. If you have any questions or would like to help out in some way (donations to help cover the cost of printing materials are most welcome), give us a call at (604) 488-0710.

SWAV is affiliated with other sex worker groups in Canada, and is a member of the International Network of Sex Work Projects as well as the North American Task Force on Prostitution (NTFP).

SWAV is not an agency of the government, nor does it receive any government funding.


[Rights Groups]

Created: February 10, 1996
Last modified: March 6, 1999
SWAV Sex Workers Alliance of Vancouver
Box 3075, Vancouver, BC V6B 3X6
Tel: +1 (604) 488-0710