The SWOP USA Board of Directors is renewed each year at the organization’s annual meeting which occurs soon after the end of the first quarter in April. Board members can serve for a total of three
consecutive years before having to cycle off for at least one year. Currently the maximum number of board members is nine with additional members on a non-voting advisory committee.
Liz is currently the Board Chair of SWOP-USA and a member of SWOP-Tucson. She has also been active in the Social Justice Task Force of Desiree Alliance. She is proactive about the representation of issues of relevance to street sex workers and people with experience of incarceration. She works tirelessly in assuring human rights for all sex workers are achieved, with focus on those wishing to exit the industry.
Shannon Williams, Co-Chair
Shannon Williams has been doing sex worki for the better part of 16 years. Her arrest in 2003 became a national news story (“Berkeley High School Teacher Arrested for Prostitution”) and helped launch SWOP. In addition to doing sex worki, Shannon also works to make life better for her fellow sex workers by doing political work with SWOP, educational work with Whorespeak, and peer counseling at the St James Infirmary, a health and occupational safety clinic for current and former sex workers. She has a 20 year history of radical activism on many social justice issues. Shannon is a trained sex educator and sex coach.
Lindsay Roth, Secretary
Lindsay currently works at an LGBTQ health clinic, and has spent the last few years volunteering with Project SAFE in Philadelphia, PA. She has experience advocating with historically marginalized people, especially those who do outdoor sex worki. Lindsay reached out to SWOP-USA in efforts to participate in national discussion about the health and safety of those in the business, by choice or by circumstance. Lindsay also has first hand experience as a sex worker and she looks forward to collaborating with others from around country.
Jenny Heineman, Treasurer
Jenny co-leads SWOP Las Vegas. She is a sociology graduate research assistant, working on research projects concerning the legal brothels as well as on the intersections of sex, gender, sexuality, and commerce.
Michael is an Assistant Professor at NYU in the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis. His research interests include citizenship and sovereignty, gender, sexuality and labor.
Sarah Elspeth Patterson
Sarah Elspeth Patterson is a proud SWOP-USA Board Member, as well as a SWOP-NYC community organizer and a sexual health consultant based in Brooklyn, New York. She is a former media columnist for $pread Magazine, the sex worker advocacy publication, and holds a Masters in Human Sexuality Education from Widener University. She teaches sexual health workshops for folks in the sex trade and co-bottomlines the Education Team for the SWOP-NYC. She is currently conducting an IRB-approved exploratory study of sex workers who are students and is the planning stages of conducting a survey of NYC sex workers regarding access to healthcare, in collaboration with other sex worker rights activists, as well as current and former sex workers. She believes in advocacy through education and regards sex worker rights as sexual rights, as well as labor rights, for a special population of gender and sexual minorities.
Vanessa A. Forro
Vanessa A. Forro is a Licensed Social Worker in Cleveland, Ohio. She is a former independent escort and exotic dancer, active advocate for sex worker’s rights, writer, curator, and educator. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Public Health from Case Western Reserve University with an emphasis on international public health policies and institutional research ethics with sex workers. Vanessa is an active member with St. Paul’s Community Outreach, a local non-profit that provides outreach, wrap-around, and support services to street-based sex workers on Cleveland’s west side. She provides one-on-one counseling to sex workers on an as-needed basis and consultation to other agencies and organizations in an effort to enhance capacity building work with sex workers. Her relationship to SWOP and other sex worker organizations and efforts spans almost ten years. One action that people can take now to support sex worker’s rights is to get involved in their local organizations, programs,or SWOP chapters to raise awareness about what the sex worker’s rights movement is doing now and increase membership and development of national SWOP chapters.
Eileen is a current sex worker. She became a sex worker by circumstance, but has since stayed to make this a career. Her professional background prior to sex worki is a long career as a journalist. She has done some advocacy around addiction/recovery issues. She is on Facebook as Eileen Rogers and on Twitter as EileenAdvocate.
Che is a member of ACT UP Philadelphia and is a contributor to the book Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex. In Washington D.C., they were involved with a grassroots campaign to combat prostitutioni free zones following the release of the Move Along Report. Together with members Penelope Saunders and Elizabeth Nanas of The Best Policy Practices Project and the Desiree Alliance, Che authored a report on sex worki in United States that was submitted to the United Nations 9th Session of the Universal Periodic Review. As a recipient of the Leeway Art and Change Grant, Che put together a publication about the impact of HIV on trans communities of color in Pennsylvania. Che recently curated a community driven exhibit at the William Way Community LGBTQ Center, commemorating the ten year anniversary of the Philadelphia transgender health conference and organized and moderated a panel, “HIV Criminalization: Community Resistance and Resilience,” at Philadelphia FIGHT Prevention Summit.