SWAN Waterloo has a current transgender sex worker as its co-chair (Jelena). We provide service and work with other sex workers - including those who are trans, black and indigenous people of colour (BIPOC), street-involved, HIV positive, poor and those who use drugs. We operate in a compassionate, empowering and affirming model.
Jelena Vermilion is a current sex worker of 7 years. She is of trans experience. Among our other members are additional trans sex workers who have equal voting rights and help provide guidance for overall projects SWAN creates. We encourage leadership of trans and BIPOC folks.
In Waterloo region, sex workers face a variety of obstacles. Stigma is pervasive, especially for street-involved trans and BIPOC workers. There is a larger threat of violencce to sex workers among these demographics. We also see huge struggles in sex workers ability to obtain secular employment or housing
Jelena provides training to businesses and organisations to elucidate the legislative atmosphere in Canada and globally. As a part of this, demystifying the differences between sex work and trafficking while acknowledging the exploitation of wage labour under capitalism.