SWAN Vancouver - Donation Matching Campaign

Note: Our original statement was published to our Instagram on March 18th, 2021.

We stand in solidarity with the Asian American Pacific Islander community against racism and the continued rise of anti-Asian hate crimes.
Within the fashion and sewing industries, a vast majority of the fabrics available are made in Asia. As a fabric store, we recognize that we cannot appreciate these fabrics nor profit off of the work of these countries, cultures, and people, without also acknowledging and actively working to combat the anti-asian racism that is deeply ingrained in our society.
We went through our inventory and removed any patterns that include appropriative or fetishizing language within their titles and descriptions. We reached out to these pattern designers and we will not be restocking these patterns until the references are removed.
In tandem with this statement, we matched donations to SWAN Vancouver (up to our goal of $1000), a local non-profit organization who supports and advocates for newcomer, migrant and immigrant (im/migrant) women engaged in indoor sex work. With the help of your generous contributions, we raised a total of $2940 for SWAN.
SWAN (Supporting Women's Alternative Network) began as a pilot community health care initiative that extended health  outreach to local massage parlours, and expanded to address the entire spectrum of social, legal, immigration, and safety issues which these women face. SWAN offers individual support such as referrals to health, legal, housing, and social services, translation services, emotional support, and crisis management, in tandem with other resources such as their Abuser Alert platform which allows women to share experiences of  violence or injustice with other women in the absence of any legal or labour protections other community members avail of.

 

 

Wendy, our Community Engagement Coordinator, had the opportunity to speak with Alison Clancey, SWAN’s Executive Director, to find out more about the organization and their ongoing initiatives.

SWAN provides many resources for im/migrant women who are involved with sex work. This includes providing translation services, legal and immigration support, counseling services, access to sexual health, and supporting safety and violence matters.

I asked Alison what is one of the biggest challenges that SWAN Vancouver faces. 

SWAN’s greatest challenge is the inability to address violence perpetrated against the women due to Canada’s laws and policies that criminalize and impede them from reporting violence. Because of the immigration and the criminal justice  systems, im/migrant sex workers cannot report violence to the authorities without risking arrest, detention, and deportation. We encourage you to watch this short video on the Harms of Anti-Trafficking initiatives, which explains the misrepresentation of all im/migrant sex workers as trafficking victims (they’re not) and initiatives that do more harm than good: 


 

To break down stereotypes of im/migrant women, SWAN has also been working on creating a community-based e-magazine. The magazine will be a space for women who use their services to express themselves through art and writing, and provide a safe platform to showcase their talents and amplify their voices.

 

SWAN has been operating and providing services since 2002. During the week of the Atlantic Spa Shooting, the organization received more public interest and donations that they have ever received during their entire 19 years in operation. Unfortunately, the violence im/migrant sex workers face is not new. We can help by continuing the conversation on destigmatizating  sex work and our donations, and not only when tragedy occurs.

We want to extend our thanks and gratitude to SWAN Vancouver and their ongoing hard work in making our community and the lives of im/migrant women safer.

Learn more about SWAN Vancouver here

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