Membership and governance

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The NSWP is a membership organisation and is committed to facilitating the voices of sex workers from both the Global North and South. Our organisational culture and rules ensure that we are led by sex workers and that sex workers are meaningfully involved at all levels within the NSWP. The requirement that NSWP members support ‘sex worker self -determination’ is interpreted as placing an obligation on members and the NSWP itself to take all practical steps to ensure that sex workers are meaningfully involved within member organisations and NSWP activities.

NSWP members are regional sex work networks and organisations from across the world.
To become a member of the NSWP an organisation must endorse the aims of NSWP and confirm their commitment to NSWP core values;

  • Acceptance of sex work as work
  • Opposition to all forms of criminalisation and other legal oppression of sex work (including sex workers, clients, third parties*, families, partners and friends)
  • Supporting self-organisation and self-determination of sex workers

*The term ‘third parties’ includes managers, brothel keepers, receptionists, maids, drivers, landlords, hotels who rent rooms to sex workers and anyone else who is seen as facilitating sex work.

Member organisations are from diverse cultures and they have different backgrounds and organisational histories. Most are sex worker groups, some are small NGOs, some are projects within government organisations or international NGOs. Almost all work on health issues. Some provide services, some focus on advocacy, some on mobilising to reduce vulnerability and address the human rights issues that affect the health and well-being of sex workers. Some member organisations work with all genders and some with only female, male or transgender sex workers. A number of member organisations work with the children of sex workers.

Organisations can apply to join NSWP as either a full member with voting rights (sex worker-led organisations only) or as a supporter without voting rights. 

Organisations/groups must meet at least two of the three following criteria to qualify as sex worker led organisations with voting rights, regardless of their self-definition.

  • Decision-making body: 50% or more of the decision-making body must be sex workers (former and current - with an aspiration to include current sex workers although not an absolute requirement). If not, what is the mechanism that ensures sex workers are in control of the organisation’s activities and advocacy?
  • Spokespeople: 50% or more of the spokespeople must be sex workers. If not what is the transparent mechanism for ensuring it is the voices of sex workers that are heard.
  • Staff: 33% or more of the staff are sex workers and have the same contracts and working conditions as other staff in the organisation – not only as peer educators paid honorariums or incentives. 

Note: For both safety and security NSWP does not identify which members are sex worker-led on our website, and members can choose not to be listed on the public website.

Application process:
Organisations wishing to apply for membership of the NSWP must complete a membership application and consent form, and send it to Organisations are asked to indicate on their application form which of the five geographic regions they wish to join and whether they are asking to join as a member with voting rights or as a supporter without voting rights.

Approval process:
When an application is received, it is forwarded to regional representatives for approval. If the organisation is known to the regional network then the application is approved immediately, however, if the organisation is not known then the Secretariat may ask for more information about its work and the meaningful participation of sex workers in the organisation itself.

NSWP Board meeting – May 2014 (Bangkok)

Pictured (L to R):
Back: Thierry Schaffauser (French interpreter), Aimee Furaha, Morgane Merteuil, Kaythi Win, Elya Durisin, John Mathenge (NSWP Vice President), Pye Jakobsson (NSWP President), Borce Bozinov, Karina Bravo, Dani Pons Palacin (Spanish interpreter).
Front: Ruth Morgan Thomas (Global Coordinator), Anastacia Ryan (Global HIV Policy Officer), Neil McCulloch (Senior Policy Officer).

Board of Directors:
The NSWP is governed by a Board of 11 Directors. Each region selects their nominated representatives through a transparent and accountable democratic regional process. All nominations will be through the regional email listservs.  The NSWP President is elected by voting members. The President and Board members are appointed for a period of up to two years; however, one regional board member rotates off the Board each year to ensure continuity. The Board elects from within its membership a Vice President and Executive Committee. The Executive Committee includes the President, the Vice President and three Board members (plus the Global Coordinator as a non-voting member).

President: Pye Jakobsson (Rose Alliance)
Vice President: John Mathenge (HOYMAS, Kenya)

Board Members
: Aimée Furaha (UMANDE, Democratic Republic of Congo) & John Mathenge (HOYMAS, Kenya)
Asia Pacific: Kaythi Win (AMA, Myanmar) & Tony Zheng (CSW & MSM Center, China)
Europe: Nataliia Isaieva (Legalife-Ukraine, Ukraine) & Christine (STRASS, France)
Latin America: Miguel Angel Saurin Romero (Asociacion Civil Cambio y Acción, Peru) & Karina Bravo (Colectivo Flor de Azale, Ecuador)
North America: Serpent Libertine (SWOP-Chicago, USA) & Marlon Taylor (Sex Work Association of Jamaica, Jamaica)

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NSWP wishes to thank the following for their financial support:

  • Bridging the Gaps (Aids Fonds)
  • Open Society Foundation – Sexual Health And Rights Program
  • Robert Carr Fund for civil society networks
  • Stepping Up Stepping Out II (Aids Fonds)
  • Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Netherlands)
  • International AIDS Society
  • IPPF
  • Mama Cash
  • WHO