Major report debunks supposed link between sex trafficking and 2010 Games VANCOUVER (June 11, 2009)

Working Together on the Right to be Safe – For Immediate Release

A Major report debunks supposed link between sex trafficking and 2010 Games VANCOUVER (June 11, 2009) – A comprehensive report presents evidence-based findings that challenge commonly held assumptions of a link between sex trafficking and 2010, noting that such assumptions may well bring harm to sex workers.

The Sex Industry Worker Safety Action Group (SIWSAG) commissioned Frontline Consulting to explore the links between the sex industry, trafficking in persons for sexual exploitation and large-scale international sporting events. “Our report presents a thorough review of the research on these issues and concludes that we should not expect sex trafficking to increase with the 2010 games,” says Tamara O’Doherty, SIWSAG Chairperson. “If anything, we found that the conflation of sex work and trafficking can result in policy and enforcement responses that negatively affect the lives of sex workers and victims of trafficking.” Karen Mirsky, of Pivot Legal Society adds, “The real concern in the community is fear that sex workers will be displaced by the 2010 security regime. If sex workers are forced to move by street closures and security, we know they will be more vulnerable to violence. It will also be harder for sex workers to access outreach workers or police if they see anything that causes them concern. They know the community best and are best able to provide information about trafficking should they see it.”

“The report recommendations are directed primarily to ensure that prevention, early detection and intervention of human trafficking are indeed maximized, prior to, during and post the Games,” says Vancouver Police Department (VPD) Inspector John de Haas. “Sex industry workers deserve to live as safely as anyone else in Vancouver. The VPD is committed to working with industry and community organizations to keep everyone safe.”

 The report, carried out with a grant from the provincial government and VPD support is available at:

A shorter document of key ‘excerpts’ is available at:

FIRST, a Vancouver-based feminist group advocating for rights and equality for sex industry workers, is holding a public forum on trafficking on June 16th at the Vancouver Public Library – Central Branch. Full details available at

 Contacts: Tamara O’Doherty – SIWSAG: Cell: 778-772-2998

Esther Shannon – Frontline Consulting: 604-254-9963 Cell: 778 – 288-9954

Insp. John de Haas – VPD : 604-717-3161

Karen Mirsky – Pivot Legal: 604- 255.9700 ext. 104


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