Sex Workers Outreach Project-USA is a national social justice network dedicated to the fundamental human rights of people involved in the sex trade and their communities, focusing on ending violence and stigma through education and advocacy.
On the national level, SWOP helps build stronger communities and a stronger movement through technical assistance, funding, and direct support and advocacy. On a local level, our chapters address structural, cultural, and interpersonal violence individuals in the sex trade face by working to change attitudes, change policies, and create alternative community-led systems of support.
SWOP was founded in 2003 in the Bay Area, with it’s first major action being the coordination of International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, a global vigil that continues to be a cornerstone of SWOP’s awareness-raising work. Since it’s founding, hundreds of individual activists have engaged in local SWOP chapters and national projects geared towards educating the public and policy-makers on the direct and institutional harms committed against sex workers and their communities.
SWOP promotes decriminalization as the best means of decreasing harm and promoting agency amongst people in the sex trade. SWOP adopts the principles and practices of nonviolent action in order to reduce violence and achieve dignity and rights for sex workers. SWOP is committed to the respect, safety, and autonomy of all sex workers, and seeks to amplify the voices of those who are often left out of discourse around the issues we address colletively as a social justice movement.
What We Do
- Community Support Line – We operate a volunteer-staffed warmline where current and former sex workers, as well as activists and other seeking peer support can access direct support. Call (877)-776-2004
- Media — We respond to pressing news items effecting our sex worker communities by issuing press releases and statements. We connect local and national media contacts with members of our SWOP network to speak to issues affecting sex workers today. We maintain active social media, circulate toolkits, and broadcast webinars to educate the public and increase the capacity of sex worker rights advocates. To see our media impact, click here
- Advocacy — On a national level, we have developed and are acting upon our 2016-18 Advocacy Agenda, a document which outlines priorities set by our local chapters. We help facilitate inter-organization research, campaigns, and projects. We support local advocacy efforts by providing resources, funding, signal boosting, and making connections with people engaged in similar work in other parts of the country.
- Funding – We offer fiscal sponsorship to our Chapters and other local, sex-worker-led initiatives.
- Mentoring and Leadership Development – We mentor and provide support to new organizers and initiatives directly and through on-line resources and peer-to-peer discussions. You can access our resources, learn about starting a chapter or project, and connect with us through this website.
- Shared Infrastructure and Communications – We maintain media lists, websites, newsletter and webinar software, and social media that chapters can utilize in their work and to amplify their activism. In particular, we bottom-line coordination of Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, and help new chapters and grassroots projects access toolkits to coordinate responses and take action in their region.