SWOP-NOLA

Location

New Orleans
United States
Contact email: 
swop.nola@gmail.com
Who do you work with?: 
Sex workers of all genders doing work that is criminalised (full service, etc.), and legal (stripping, etc.), allies, the public, health care and social service providers.
How are sex workers involved in your organisation?: 
Most members are current or former sex workers. Those of us who are currently working share resources and information relevant to our work and are the primary decision makers in the group. Our first priority is serving the needs of current sex workers.
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
Advocate for the economic empowerment and social inclusion of sex workers as sex workers
What are the two main challenges that the sex workers you work with face: 
For those of us who do full service:criminalisation. Fear of arrest or of exploitation/abuse from law enforcement is probably the biggest factor in how and where we work and what precautions we take when meeting with clients. And whether our work is legal or not, we all suffer as a result of the social stigma attached to sex work, as evidenced by the violent crimes committed against local sex workers in recent years, the local media's treatment of the cases, and the public's reaction to them.
Describe other areas of your work: 
Provide support and community for local sex workers (there previously was none). Encourage communication and sharing of information that may keep us safe. Connecting sex workers with sex worker-friendly resources (especially healthcare, etc.). Outreach to educate public about sex work (what, who, why, etc.), to correct commonly-held misconceptions about sex work and sex trafficking, to introduce the idea of decriminalisation and gain support for it.