Seeking new board members!

We invite anyone who shares our goal of fighting intersectional oppressions individuals involved in the sex trade face and who would like to help build one of the most important national groups working for human rights to apply to join the board of directors.

As a board member, you are expected to attend a vision and planning retreat in early 2015, participate in a conference call once per month to discuss policy issues, campaigns and how to support SWOP chapters all across the country as well as additional tasks as needed by the board and SWOP National. Individual board members contribute to SWOP in different ways: through fundraising, through expertise and insight, through connections and fostering strategic alliances, and through volunteer work. These diverse types of contributions are all valued and crucial to our organization.

All participation is on a volunteer basis. Need-based funding for travel and lodging is available for board retreats, meetings, and some conferences. Income should not serve as a deterrent for participating in SWOP leadership.

The selection criteria are included below. Please send a brief statement of interest—a description of who you are, your work, the communities and organizations you have worked with as well as two references* to board@swopusa.org. You may also send a resume if you would like.

Sex Workers Outreach Project-USA is a national social justice network dedicated to the fundamental human rights of sex workers and their communities, focusing on ending violence and stigma through education and advocacy. More information can be found at www.swopusa.org.

Please note, if you have applied for another position with SWOP and are also interested in serving on the board, you cannot hold both positions at one time. Board members cannot be paid in any capacity by SWOP. Therefore, please let us know if you would like to withdraw another application. And if you have questions, contact lindsay@swopusa.org or the board@swopusa.org.

 


 

Qualifications for a Board member:

1) A commitment to social justice, implementing our AR/AO framework, and supporting SWOP towards becoming an organization that centers the most marginalized indviduals of our communities and focuses not just on decriminalization but on intersectional issues individuals involved in the sex trade face. This is demonstrated by:

a) A willingness to support and self-educate around anti-oppression and related issues such as reproductive justice, intersectionality, immigration, economic justice, civil rights, and LGBTQI rights; and

b) A dedication to identifying and implementing strategies that encourage the participation of and transfer decision-making power and leadership to the most impacted members of our community.

2) A commitment to decriminalization of sex works in all forms.

3) A commitment to supporting our allies and working with them to attack the broader policing and criminalization of our communities, including people of color, immigrants, drug users, indigenous women, and low-income women.

4) A working relationship and knowledge of the Sex Industry, and the culture of Sex Exchange (we use this language here to include people who may not or are not able to personally identify as a “sex worker” but who clearly understand the terrain.)

The Priority Deadline is November 25, 2014. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.

*References are ideally someone with whom you have done community organizing, campaign planning, and non-profit, reproductive justice or social justice work with previously.

December 17th National Coordinator Paid Internship Opportunity

The Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP-USA) seeks an intern, to start immediately, to coordinate this year’s December 17th events. SWOP-USA is a national social justice network dedicated to the fundamental human rights of sex workers and their communities, focusing on ending violence and stigma through education and advocacy. Visit www.swopusa.org to learn more.

The International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, commonly referred to as December 17th, was created to call attention to crimes committed against sex workers all over the globe. The first December 17th served as a memorial and vigil for the victims of the Green River Killer in Seattle Washington. Since then, December 17th has become a day that brings sex work communities together worldwide to organize against discrimination, remember victims of violence, and to reassert our presence and value. During the week of December 17th, sex worker rights organizations and their allies stage actions and vigils to raise awareness about violence that is commonly committed against sex workers.

This year, SWOP-USA seeks an intern to serve as the December 17th National Coordinator.  Duties will include:

  • Create the December 17th Memorial List. Every year, SWOP-USA curates the list of all the sex workers who lost their lives to violence (personal and societal) over the previous year. The intern will communicate with state SWOP Chapters and partner organizations to gather the names and stories of those we have lost, and organize them into a list for public distribution.
  • Promote the December 17th Indiegogo Fundraiser to support events in twenty cities around the United States on social media (through the SWOP-USA page) and other outreach.
  • Communicate with State SWOP Chapters and partner organizations to determine their funding needs, support event planning, and provide resources as needed.
  • Add December 17th Events to the website (www.december17.org), confirm that the information posted is accurate, and generate and send press releases to local media outlets about upcoming December 17th events.
  • Track December 17-related expenses, including maintaining expense spreadsheet and gathering receipts from Chapters (both before and after the event).
  • Reach out to other Global Network of Sex Worker Project (NSWP) members and allied organizations to gather information about international events and gather names for our memorial list.
  • Following December 17th, collect flyers, photograph, articles, and other artifacts to add to the website and to post on SWOP-USA’s social media networks.
  • Send thank you to donors and supporters of December 17th events.

The Internship will start immediately and run through the end of January. Anticipated hours will be approximately 10-20 hours/week during December 1-17th. Fewer hours (including time off for holidays) are expected before and after.

The intern will receive a stipend, dependent upon fundraising success. Interns will receive half of their stipend after December 17th and the other half upon the completion of the internship (January 31st).  To be eligible for the stipend, all duties must be completed.

Preference will be given to current or former sex workers. Additionally, an ideal candidate will be organized, excel at communication, demonstrate superior writing skills, ability to multitask, and is comfortable with all types of social media. Web site experience and experience with basic HTML coding in WordPress is a plus but not a requirement. Ideally, the candidate will be located in Washington, DC, but telework will be considered.

Interested applicants should send your resume and a cover letter covering your interest in the position and highlighting your qualifications. Applicants working to telework should also include an organizational plan detailing your organizational style and preferred tools, your availability for weekly calls or GChat sessions, and a plan for when (during a typical week) you will be conducting this work.

Please submit all application materials to Katie Hail-Jares (jareskat@gmail.com). All submissions must be electronic. Materials submitted by November 14th will be fully considered. We plan to contact top applicants by Monday, November 17th.

November Newsletter!

We have a newsletter out for November!! Check it out here: http://eepurl.com/7ksk1

Purchase on Amazon and help out SWOP!

Hi Everyone!

You know you love us, if you also happen to enjoy purchasing on Amazon, why not do both at the same time!!!  Click the banner below, and at no added cost to you, Amazon will give us money every time you purchase something!

Sex Workers Outreach Project

December 17th and our new website.

Hi Everyone!

Thank you all for your patience while we work out our evil bad people trying to break into our website! We hope we have everything worked out now, and we have a shiny new wordpress running our site! We have a redesign of our site coming soon, so please be patient with us while we get our new look and feel worked out (hopefully at the beginning of the new year!). In the meantime, remember December 17th is our next big event, and it’s coming up soon! Check out the December 17th website here!

Rape and assault resources

Safe Sex

If you have been or are currently being harrassed or experience abuse resulting from a Craigs List posting or from meeting someone on the list, please contact SWOP-USA at (877) PRO-2004. Also check out DangerZone411. However, if you believe you are in immediate danger, contact your local law enforcement immediately.

If you have been raped or sexually assaulted

What to do if you have been assualted. List of Rape Crisis Numbers by County

St. James Infirmary Oakland PD Special Victims Unit San Francisco PD Sexual Assault Resource page

Be Smart, Avoid Breaking the Law and Know Your Rights!

What is the definition of prostitution in California? Prostitution is defined as exchanging a “lewd act” for money or something else of value. This does not mean that you actually had sexual intercourse. Lewd is described as physical contact between two people in which one person touches the genitals, buttocks or (female) breasts of the other person, for the purpose of sexual gratification. Spanking someone with a paddle is considered physical contact under the law, even if no body parts touch. If the act of spanking someone (for money or something else of value) is done for the purpose of sexual gratification, then an act of prostitution has been committed. These crimes are commonly charged under the California penal code section 647(b). 1

If you are charged with prostitution, the prosecutor would have to prove you were guilty in one of these three ways:

  1. You were actually engaged in an act of prostitution; or
  2. You decide to engage in prostitution, solicited (invited) someone to do it with you and engaged in an act in furtherance; or
  3. Someone asked you to engage in prostitution, you agreed to do it with that person and you engaged in an act in furtherance. 1

An act in furtherance means an action that advances the process of engaging in prostitution. Some examples are:

  1. taking off clothes,
  2. getting out a condom,
  3. exchanging money,
  4. getting in a car after accepting the offer of an individual to engage in an act of prostitution. 1

Just talking to someone is not an act in furtherance.

Loitering with the intent to solicit for prostitution is commonly known as “Flagging” It is unlawful for any person to loiter in any public place with the intent to commit prostitution. This intent is evidenced by acting in a manner and under circumstances which openly demonstrate the purpose of inducing, enticing, or soliciting prostitution, or procuring another to commit prostitution.

Among the circumstances that may be considered in determining whether a person loiters with the intent to commit prostitution are that the person:

(1) Repeatedly beckons to, stops, engages in conversations with, or attempts to stop or engage in conversations with passersby, indicative of soliciting for prostitution.

(2) Repeatedly stops or attempts to stop motor vehicles by hailing the drivers, waving arms, or making any other bodily gestures, or engages or attempts to engage the drivers or passengers of the motor vehicles in conversation, indicative of soliciting for prostitution.

These crimes are charged under California penal code section 653.22. 4

Entrapment- a common misconception is that law enforcement officers have to disclose their identity if asked, “Are you a cop?” Police are allowed to lie about being police. They are allowed to do drugs. They can take off their clothes. Entrapment is nearly impossible to prove in court.

You do not have to talk to the police, FBI, INS or any other law enforcement agent or investigator. You cannot lawfully be arrested for refusing to identify yourself on the street, although this may make the police suspicious and police and other agents do not always follow the law. If you are driving a vehicle, you must show your license and registration. Otherwise you do not have to talk to anyone: on the street, at your home or office, if you’ve been arrested, or even if you’re in jail. Only a judge has the authority to order you to answer questions. 2, 3

There isn’t a bad situation that can’t be made worse by talking to the police! Whether or not you are under arrest, do not answer questions when interrogated by the police. Politely tell them, “I am going to remain silent. I want a lawyer.” Many people invoke their Miranda Rights and then continue to talk. This is a very bad idea. Anything you say to a police officer can and often will be used against you or your friends. 1

What if I’m not a citizen?Non-citizens already in the U.S.have rights under the United States Constitution. Assert your rights. If you do not demand your rights or if you sign papers waiving your rights, you may be deported before you see a lawyer or an immigration judge. Crimes of moral turpitude are grounds for deportation. This includes acts of prostitution and giving false information (lying) to the police. Better to say nothing than to give a false name. You have the right to remain silent under the Fifth Amendment (Miranda Rights). You have the right to an attorney. For immigration proceedings you do not have the right to a government appointed attorney. 2, 3
________________________________________________________

The above information was compiled from publications created by 1) Katya Komisaruk, Just Cause Law Collective, 2) National Lawyer’s Guild, 3) American Civil Liberties Union and 4) the California Penal Code. It is a very basic overview and by no means complete. Efforts to obtain more complete information should be made by all interested parties. Visit www.aclu.org ,www.nlg.org for additional resources.

Safety tips for working adults

Hot Safety Tips for Working Adults

How safe is your work? Wherever you work, it is important to:

  • Tell someone where you are going and how long you will be gone.
  • Think about an escape route in advance, in case of danger.
  • Look for well lit, open and secure areas in which to work.

Assess your clients:

  • Make sure you can see them clearly.
  • Engage in small talk to assess any potential risk.
  • Always go on your ‘gut instinct’.

BE AWARE & ALERT AND YOU WON’T GET HURT

What is ‘gut instinct’?

  • If you get bad vibes, feel uneasy or get butterflies, your gut instinct is telling you something is wrong…DON’T GO WITH HIM!
  • Trust your judgment at all times.
  • Even a regular can still turn ugly. TRUST YOUR GUT INSTINCT USUALLY IT’S RIGHT.

Attitude is important

  • Confidence at work can save your life.
  • Never show that you feel intimidated, frightened or ‘out of control’.
  • Try to stay positive and in control.
  • Take time out if work gets stressful.

BE STRONG, ALERT & ALWAYS ASSERT

Working Alone. Try to work in pairs. If you have to work alone:

  • Never let the client know you are alone.
  • Let them think that you have a friend that knows where you are.

WORKING ALONE? CARRY A PHONE.

Any signs of trouble

  • Make as much noise as possible. This frightens people away. Yell, scream—GET OUT! GET AWAY!
  • Run and scream “FIRE” as loud as you can.
  • Run to a busy street and get help.
  • Create a HUGE scene to get attention.

Carry a personal alarm

  • Loud noise scares people and attracts attention.
  • Carry a whistle or personal alarm.
  • Remember, any sign of danger, yell and get help!

If forced to fight

  • Turn fear into anger. Get really angry.
  • Use whatever you can as a weapon. Use your stilettos, bag, sharp ring, belt buckle or anything that will inflict pain.
  • Strike vulnerable areas of the body—eyes, throat, nose, fingers, balls, knee, feet—these hurt the most.
  • Create as much noise as possible.

If attacked and are at risk

  • If you can run, shout and set off alarms. Put distance and obstacles between you and the attacker.
  • If you can’t get away, fight with anything to protect yourself. Kick, bite hit with anything, be aggressive, scream and shout.
  • If you can’t run or fight, try not to show fear and try to talk your way out.

If weapons are involved

  • Stay out of attacking range.
  • Use an object, such as a bag or shoe as a shield to protect yourself.
  • If you can run, get out and scream “FIRE”—this gets attention.
  • Try and keep your vital organs away from the weapon.
  • Use anything around to throw at the attacker. This will give you time to get away.

IF YOU ARE ATTACKED, REPORT IMMEDIATELY TO THE POLICE AND SWOP—IT CAN SAVE LIVES.

The above tips have been adapted with the permission of SWOP NSW. www.swop.org.au

Contact

Sex Workers Outreach Project-USA is a national social justice network dedicated to the fundamental human rights of sex workers and their communities, focusing on ending violence and stigma thru education and advocacy.

SWOP-USA only provides services as a political advocate for sex worker rights. SWOP-USA also provides information regarding sex worker rights as well as information about resources which sex workers may have need of, including, but not limited to health, medical, and legal information. SWOP-USA provides no other services or information of any kind.

SWOP-USA is not in anyway affiliated with any specific sex worker or business which markets/represents sex workers and makes no recommendations or endorsements as to such individuals or entities.

If you are in need of immediate assistance call us at 877-776-2004. We offer a 24/7 sex worker hotline at 877-776-2004 option 1 (or just stay on the line).

SWOP Agreements

Sex Worker Rights are Human Rights-Dignity and Respect

In the past “respect” and “dignity” were used against sex workers and other “un-pure” women to kill or imprison them. In our struggle for human rights we choose to reclaim these words and give them renewed meaning.
Through dignity we honor the unique diversity that is intrinsic in all people. We also choose to respect each person’s unique traits, abilities and oppressions which through our mutual respect lets us work together in a complimentary fashion to achieve our mutual goals.

Communities

The Sex Workers Outreach Project strives towards the conscious building of community, with consensual decision making, out of respect for all individuals. Communities help to keep us strong and safe by networking and enabling our own education and support systems. This community is strengthened by acknowledging diversity among its members and assisting members’ rights to self-representation. SWOP USA and its individual chapters aim to build communities which support, educate and unite its members. These communities facilitate our political voices and our ability to protect basic human rights. SWOP’s force as a community is fortified through the expression of solidarity among other sex worki positive groups and activists sharing common interests and goals. The Sex Workers Outreach project and its affiliates create a professional community and offer agency.

Unity

Sex Workers Outreach Project is committed to justice, equity, and compassion for sex workers and their communities. This commitment requires unity within our organization and within the global sex workers’ movement as a whole. We agree to value the diverse experiences and politics of our members, while placing group principles before individual passions or pursuits.

Self Determination

Our bodies are our own. Individuals retain the exclusive right to determine what they do and how they use our bodies under all circumstances. This choice remains proprietary to each individual in all aspects of life including occupational, health, lifestyle, sexual and reproductive choices. Self-determination and harm reduction are intrinsically linked. Our choices are always constrained by external forces. We believe in empowerment within these constraints along with social justice strategies to increase access to resources and services. We also acknowledge that the boundaries of self differ from culture to culture, and person to person. We protect and cherish the diversity of definition and of each individual and their rights to their bodies, thoughts, feelings, forms of expression and methods of living their lives.

Bodily Integrity

With the right to self determination of the propriety of choice and consent regarding our bodies, we state unequivocally the right to determine that sex worki is different from violence, sexual assault, slavery and trafficking in persons. Individual rights and consent determine the difference. We also reject the notion that sex worki is inherently linked with violence. Our visibility, awareness, rights and bodily integrity do not perpetuate, but directly oppose sexual violence. The presence of sex workers in social movements, the visibility of sex workers in communities of all kinds, and societal awareness of sex worker rights as fundamental to human rights in no way perpetuate violence, sexual assault, slavery and trafficking in persons. The converse is true-our visibility and knowledge directly oppose sexual violence.

AR/AO PRINCIPLES

We agree to recognize and challenge all forms of oppression.
We are committed regardless of the form of oppression; be it racism, classism, sexism, homophobia, trans-phobia, ageism, elitism, prohibitionism, and all other systems and behaviors of discrimination which marginalize, exclude or de-humanize any one person or group.
We realize that the most important work for us is within ourselves and our community. We take responsibility for our own prejudices and actions which perpetuate oppression thru individual action and active participation in addressing privilege when it’s recognized and being constantly vigilant for privileged actions both within ourselves, and those around us. To this end, we continually work to identify our individual, systematic and organizational privileges, how they intersect our lives both internally and externally, and learn how to be allies with our privileges by recognizing the benefits and costs.
We express our commitment to anti-racist/anti-oppressive principles as a group by engaging and constantly evolving a PROGRAM OF ACTION around these principles.