NSWP member SWAP Hamilton have launched the Sex Worker Archive Collection, an online archive of books, videos, and zines that commemorate the history of sex workers and the sex workers’ rights movement. The collection has been created specifically for sex workers, to benefit sex workers and give them access to their history.
Jelena Vermilion, Executive Director of SWAP Hamilton, acquired PDF copies of texts and, where these were not available, scanned books herself. This meant scanning and cropping each page individually, making them searchable, and adding them to the archive. Jelena estimates that she scanned over 80 books herself – and that’s just the books. The archive also contains a large selection of zines and films.
Talking about the importance of the archive, Jelena cites the need to commemorate the history of the sex worker community, which is often erased, and the importance of representation.
“Ultimately there is something magical that happens when you see yourself on screen and in print; I hope sex workers will realise that they matter, that our history has always existed. I want the archive to empower sex workers to find out more about our history, to organise more in their communities and to reduce stigma.”
As well as the digital archive, SWAP Hamilton have donated all the scanned books to Hamilton Public Library. The Library will catalogue the books and make them publicly available as a special collection.
The Archive is still being added to and SWAP Hamilton are missing key texts including works by Grisélidis Réal. If you'd like to contribute texts or videos to the archive collection, you can get in touch with SWAP Hamilton using the links below.