2015-2016: Fatemeh Hosseini
Fatemeh is an adjunct instructor at the University of Maryland where she obtained her PhD in women and gender history, and focused her research on sex work in the Middle East. Her current research focuses on precarious citizenship. Fatemeh has experience in policy and non-profits and has worked with survivors of domestic violence in the DC metro area and volunteered at the local Rape Crisis Center and participated in harm reduction outreach to drug users and sex workers. Committed to a holistic approach to social justice, in her free time, Fatemeh enjoys traveling, reading, and photography.
2014-2016: Brittany Turner (Secretary)
Brittany Turner currently works as a Librarian in Shreveport, LA. She received her Master’s in Public Administration through the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy at the State University of New York at Albany as well as a Master’s in Library and Information Science through the University of Alabama. Brittany has experience in social and economic justice, government, non-profits, and politics, including past work with the Hudson Valley Area Labor Federation, Family Planning Advocates of New York State, Planned Parenthood of the Mid-Hudson Valley, and Save Women’s Lives: March for Freedom of Choice. She is an active volunteer for various organizations in her community and is also a founding member and co-organizer of the Shreveport-Bossier City Chapter of SWOP.
2014-2016: Miriam Weeks (dba Belle Knox)
Miriam Weeks is an award-winning pornography actress and a feminist activist. She has contributed to Time, Rolling Stone, Jezebel, XoJane, Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan, and Forbes on the topics of feminism, sex work, censorship, and libertarianism. Her upcoming literary publications include contributions in Best Sex Writing of 2015 and The Association of Libertarian Feminists Anthology. Miriam is a Women’s Studies student at Duke University and Students for Liberty Campus Coordinator. She has spoken at universities across the country and The International Conference on Human Trafficking.
2012-2016 Katie Hail-Jares (Secretary 2012-2014)
Katie is a PhD candidate in Justice, Law & Criminology at American University and research associate on harm reduction practices at Georgetown University’s Department of International Health. For the past five years, Katie has been an outreach volunteer and team leader with HIPS in Washington, DC, and has collaborated with HIPS on a number of research projects. Prior to returning to graduate school, Katie spent seven years working with incarcerated people in Iowa, including directing Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s Skylark Project, which served imprisoned survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence. In her free time, Katie enjoys bourbon tasting, traveling, and volunteering as a cheetah interpreter at the National Zoo.
2015: Kate Zen
Kate Zen is an immigrant labor organizer and independent researcher in New York City and Toronto, who has been engaged with sex worker rights organizing since 2008 through joining SWOP/SWANK and helping to edit $pread Magazine. A member of the Migrant Sex Worker Justice project, Butterfly, and Maggie’s in Toronto, she is currently working towards expanding this project to New York City, by doing weekly outreach to Asian immigrant massage parlor workers in Queens and Manhattan. Kate is also a member of the Best Practices Policy Project, and has served as a community organizer at the Red Umbrella Project, the Global Network of Sex Work Projects, and Streetwise and Safe. Born in China, she is the daughter of a former restaurant worker and domestic worker, and has been involved with Chinatown community activism since first becoming a youth organizer in 2002.
2014-2015: Karen Creary
Karen is a Client Support Worker/ POETT/Speaker/Advocate located in Fort Lauderdale Fl. Professional committees / boards as well as certifications includes, Co-Chair Florida Department Health Bureau of Communicable Disease Advisory Board, Ryan White Part A Planning Council, Previous Ryan White Part A Chair of Membership, Previous Ryan White Part A Executive Committee, Previous Co-Chair of BAAG, Previous Co-Chair of the Black Aids Treatment Network (BTAN),20/20 Leading Women’s Society, Alcohol Substance and Mental Health Planning Council and AVAC. My certification includes, WILLOW Training, SISTA Training, VOICES/VOCES, 500, 501, Rapid Testing and HIPPA. I am currently on the Board of Directors of Commucare as the Secretary. Karen is currently continuing her college education and pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Public Health.
2014-2015: Conner Spinks
Conner is a hard femme Black queer whose passions include reproductive justice and HIV advocacy. Born and raised in Des Moines, Iowa, Conner is finishing her undergraduate degree in Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies at the University of Iowa and is currently employed with the Crisis Center of Johnson County as a Call Room Manager. She can be found at drag shows and dive bars as part of her self-care.
2012-2015: Lindsay Roth (President | 2014 – 2015)
Lindsay Roth has been an advocate for reproductive justice and access to health care on local and national levels for the past 10 years. She is currently the Executive Director of Project SAFE, which provides direct services to women working in street economies, many of whom are impacted by the sex trade. She has also worked with AVACs PxROAR program, Planned Parenthood, the Red Umbrella Project and the Mazzoni Center as an educator and advocate. She is a MSW candidate at the Colombia School of Social Work.
2015: Lindsey Scotney
Lindsey was born and raised in Oklahoma, but has traveled extensively. She is a former sex worker and human trafficking target. This background has made her passionate about the protection of consensual sex workers’ rights to practice their trade safely and legally. Lindsey has trained and assisted municipal police departments in differentiating consensual sex work from human trafficking. She has also served as the head of multiple community service organizations and causes. She currently owns a very successful real estate investment company. Lindsey lives with her husband and six children in Tulsa and is training for her first triathlon.
2013-2014: Kate Koster (Treasurer)
Kate Koster is a sociology student at the University of Chicago with a sustained devotion to social justice and supporting community-led organizations. Prior to working with the sex worker rights movement, Kathreine volunteered and worked for education and leadership development projects for refugees, Palestinian women and youth, and inner-city students. Katherine is currently a community organizer with SWOP-Chicago, where she oversees financial and organizational planning, leadership development, community partnerships, and new program development. In her free time, Katherine volunteers with the Chicago Recovery Alliance and ChiChiCo, a collective that provides free childcare to local grassroots organizations.
2012-13: Liz Coplen
Liz served as the Board Chair of SWOP-USA and is 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.
2012-13: Shannon Williams, Co-Chair
Shannon Williams was a sex workers 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 work, Shannon worked 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 had a 20 year history of radical activism on many social justice issues. Shannon was a trained sex educator, sex coach, friend and beloved peer to many, and a mother of two. Shannon Williams passed away on Jan 20th, 2015.
2012-2013: 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.
2012-13: Michael Ralph
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.
2012-13: 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.
2012-13: 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.
2011-12: Eileen Rogers
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.
2011-12: Che Gossett
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.
2011: Cris Sardina
Cris is a co-coordinator of the Desiree Alliance and is one of the founders of a progressive re-entry program in Arizona, the Women’s Re-entry Network (WREN). She is passionate about the inclusion of the voices of people with experience of incarceration and the inclusion of other marginalized groups in rights based organizing.
2011: Dara Barlin
Dara is the Associate Director of Policy for the New Teacher Center, a leading non-profit focusing on improving equity and excellence in public education, working to build relationships with funders and policy makers at the local, state, and federal level. Prior to this, she worked at the Ford Foundation as a Program Associate and in a think tank in London called the Institute for Public Policy Research. She has also worked as Lead Organizer and Negotiator for the American Federation of Teachers fighting for the rights of school support personnel such as custodial staff, maintenance workers and food service employees in Compton, Hawthorne, and East Los Angeles.
2011: Kirsten Aspengren
Kirsten served as the secretary on the board of directors. She is an advocate for low income sex workers and the homeless. She worked for many years in New York at FROST’D (Foundation for Research on Sexually Transmitted Diseases). She is also a PONY (Prostitutes of New York) member since 1995 and maintains a New York connection from Oregon via SWOP-NYC and SWANK.
2009-2010: Acire Roche
Acire has been active in SWOP across the nation via SWOP Chicago and SWOP chapters in California. She is currently an activist in Portland, Oregon.
2009-2012: Penelope Saunders
Penelope has been the executive director of several different service providers in the US and beyond including Different Avenues and HIPS in Washington, D.C. She currently is the director of the non-profit organization, the Best Practices Policy Project, that provides policy analysis and capacity building for organizations and individuals working with sex workers and related vulnerable groups.
2008-2012: Jill McCracken
Jill McCracken served as treasurer to the board of directors. She is an active member of the Desiree Alliance. She is also a researcher and educator. She received her PhD in Rhetoric, Composition, and the Teaching of English from the University of Arizona in 2007.
2008-2012: Tara Sawyer
Tara served as board president. Tara is a member of SWOP NORCAL and volunteers for a wide range of groups working for justice/safety/rights. Zie is an optimistic individual who believes loving everyone and everything is possible. As a transgendered person with genderqueer sparkles, formerly homeless and sex worker, zie works to serve these communities and to bring their issues to groups such as SWOP USA.