SWAN: the Hidden Harms of Anti-Trafficking, Mary W.
Critical thinking about consensual sex work
Butterfly (Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Support Network)
Amy is a skilled worker, migrating to Canada
She became a single mother shortly after landing in
Canada; went back to a Canadian University, in
order to work back into her profession;
She encountered racism and sexism; blind dates and
dating rapes; stressed out with sickness; felt
isolated and desperate without help; stridden in
despair and poverty;
She has worked two jobs, irrelevant to her field, not
getting paid by a bad boss, and got sick again...
She inquired a massage job and was told she can
make extra money for services, so she decided
to have it a try...
She made more money with less time spent; she
gave those lost souls her empathetic therapies;
she found her life is not totally meaningless; she
is rewarded; she can afford good life with her
But she has to silence all her struggles, survival,
however, effort and life achievement…
She works in the grey area among professions: no
distinction like between black and white, good and evil...
There is multi-culture which is tolerated in Canada, she
has customers from diverse racially, culturally and
religiously mosaic: some are respectful, but some are
violating her rights as a human being… so she has to be
There is social stigma against it. There is legislation
punishing it, but not protecting it.
She and her friends have been threatened by police…
some of her friends have to work underground, and
endangered themselves into some crimes: fraud,
murders, etc. and they are re-victimized when suing to
Consensual sex work vs. Some other work
Interviewer: ”mysterious”, ”more
attractive”, “come by and work
‘No local experience’, ‘foreign
accent in English’, ‘your resume is
filed for 6-month consideration’…
‘you are my goddess!’, ‘I worship
‘currently we don’t need a female
Financial independence (relatively
better income, relaxation, and fun
Poverty (too hard to do labor, or
impoverished with low income)
Sexual desire in control Desperation-avoid blind dating
Too overwhelmed from
work/dull/boring to partner
Multi-role playing i.e. French maid,
Snow White, Wonder woman, etc.
Singular-role playing i.e.
Myth Alternative Reality
Abstinence Doubt it’s against human nature.
Mainstream professionals amid the
Safety Is blind dating more justified? Is
date rape safer? Sex workers don’t
Exploitation Income from
On newspapers, boss was sued to
Ministry of labor for not paying their
employees, in other businesses.
*Who can heal those lonely and
sometimes broken hearts more
effectively and efficiently?
Dirty and sick Psychotherapies Sexy and healthy, and therapeutic
sometimes. To avoid mental illness,
sex is better than drugs.
Healthy people are pretty and sexy ones
They like sex, no doubt
Sex work is helpful, and sexy
Universal market rule: where there is demand,
there must be supply
The rule must have persisted in sex industry
– the universally oldest one, up to now and
ever, even under pressure of controversy
Facing the reality that sex workers are
members of the society who deserve the
tolerance and respect just like the diversity of
cultures and other workers.
Legislation of focusing on protecting sex
workers’ rights leads to not only everyone’s
survival, but also EQUALITY!
We also need a structure to support the
capacity for some sex workers who wish to
leave the industry.
Butterfly network organization for Asian and
migrant sex workers
Elene Lam – my mentor
Background changes like moving, wars, natural disaster can cause a lot of social problems. i.e. Movie “Santagan #8”
*Butler always turned to Mrs. Wallace after big fights against his wife, Scarlet in “ Gone with the wind”.