SWOP - Chicago

Emplacement

Chicago
United States
Contact email: 
info@swop-chicago.org
Who do you work with?: 
We do direct outreach to indoor and street-based cis and trans-female and male sex workers doing harm reduction, peer support, and education. We also work with allies and educate organizations and service providers on best practices when working with people in the sex trade.
How are sex workers involved in your organisation?: 
We have an executive board of 5-7 people, all with current or former sex work experience. Our general membership fluctuates between 15-20 people, with at least half who have sex work experience.
Which of NSWP priority areas does your organisation work on?: 
Oppose the criminalisation and other legal oppression of sex work and support its recognition as work
Critique the trafficking paradigm that conflates representations of sex work, migration, and mobility
Advocate for universal access to health services, including primary health care, HIV and sexual and reproductive health services
Speak out about violence against sex workers, including violence from police, institutions, clients, and intimate partners, while challenging the myth that sex work is inherently gender-based violence
Oppose human rights abuses, including coercive programming, mandatory testing, raids and forced rehabilitation
Challenge stigma and discrimination against sex workers, their families and partners, and others involved in sex work
What are the two main challenges that the sex workers you work with face: 
Criminalization- sex workers in our city are often subject to arrest, as well as oppressive anti- trafficking laws that seek to "rescue" them using law enforcement and social services. Stigma- the negative perception of sex work by the US public, as well as strong anti- trafficking campaigns cause sex workers in our area to be portrayed as dirty, criminals, or victims in need of rescue.
Describe other areas of your work: 
Education- we present at colleges and social service organizations on "Sex Work 101" basics. PROS Network- resource guide of providers that serve sex workers in our area. Advocacy- trainings on safety, money management, and legal rights for sex workers.