The Sex Workers' Rights Advocacy Network (SWAN) is the regional network of sex work organisations in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia. This interview with the SWAN Programme Officer focuses on the history, work and challenges of the SWAN network.
Our members are local, national and regional sex worker organisations and networks, across five regions: Africa; Asia Pacific; Europe (including Eastern Europe and Central Asia); Latin America; and North America and the Caribbean.
Featured member profiles highlight the work of NSWP’s member organisations around the world. The profiles are written by our regional correspondents.
NSWP Canadian member group Butterfly – Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Support Network state “Sex Workers’ Rights and Migrants Rights are Human Rights”. This summarises the unique cross-section of priorities and challenges that this young and active group works on. This profile and interview with founder Elene Lam outlines Butterfly's history, work and challenges.
"Our enemies are inequality, iniquity, discrimination, stigma, violence and exploitation. We need to fight them together."
Karina Bravo is Project Coordinator at Colectivo Flor de Azalea in Ecuador and Coordinator of the Latin American Platform of Persons Who Perform Sex Work (PLAPERTS). She is a regional representative of NSWP. In this interview, the sex worker leader talks about her life, work and activism.
"From our very marginalised position, we have challenged the mainstream discourses of state feminist organisations or trade unions and their narrow idea of what a (free) woman is, or what a worker is."
Marie is the General Secretary at the Syndicat du Travail Sexuel (STRASS), the French union for sex workers. In this interview, the sex worker leader talks about her activism, labour rights for sex workers and current developments in sex worker rights activism in France.
The Associação das Prostitutas de Minas Gerais (APROSMIG) is an active sex worker group in Brazil. This interview with an APROSMIG staff member focuses on the organisations' role within the Brazil network of sex worker-led organisations, its work and challenges.
The Nikat Charitable Association is a grass-roots, community-based local NGO in Ethiopia. This interview with Gelila Mekonnen, Chair of the Board of Directors of NIKAT, focuses on the history, work and challenges of the organisation.
Stella is a Canadian sex worker group dedicated to improve the quality of work and life of sex workers. It also aims to educate the greater public on sex work and the lived realities of sex workers. This profile and interview with a staff member focuses on the history, work and challenges of the organisation.
Gabriela Leite was a leader of the Brazil sex workers' movement. In this article, the author recalls important moments in Gabriela's life, work and activism.
I first met with members of the Malawi Sex Workers Alliance (MASWA) during the 17th ICASA conference that was held in Cape Town in December 2013. I had the great pleasure to meet the beautiful, ever smiling Zinenani Lucy Majawa, the publicity secretary of MASWA, and was very excited to be interviewing her two years later, on the strides taken by this young and vibrant movement.
Daisy Nakato is the Executive Director of the Women’s Organisation Network for Human Rights Advocacy (WONETHA) in Uganda. In this interview, the sex worker leader talks about her life, work and activism.
Lourdes Barreto is a sex worker leader from Brazil. In this interview, she talks about her work and activism.
Veteran sex worker rights activist and human rights defender, Alejandra Gil has been in custody on remand for charges related to Human Trafficking. The prosecution is still looking for evidence while finalising their case and all the while it is not certain when the final judgement will be reached by the Court in Mexico. The laws under which Alejandra are charged conflate human trafficking with sex work. Alejandra is one of a large number of women currently incarcerated in prisons all over Mexico under these new laws. In December 2014 one of the NSWP regional correspondents had the privilege to speak with Alejandra Gil by phone, from where she is currently on remand in a prison in Mexico City.
The Sex Workers IN Group (SWING) are a sex worker organisation with drop-in spaces and offices across three of Thailand’s most infamous red-light districts: Bangkok (Patpong), Koh Samui, and Pattaya (Walking Street). As an organisation working at the local, national and regional level, SWING are recognised for their expertise in developing creative and innovative core programs and projects which focus on the health and wellbeing of sex worker communities, using a human rights framework and peer-led health promotion activities.
SASOD - Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (previously called Students Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination) was formed in 2003 by young people as a progressive, student response to the public debates around prohibiting sexual orientation as grounds for discrimination in the Guyana constitution.
Naomi Sayers is a sex worker leader involved in Maggie's Toronto (Canada). In this interview, she talks about her life, work and activism.
Dorothy Ogotu is a sex worker leader involved in the African Sex Workers Alliance (ASWA). In this interview, the sex worker leader talks about her life, work and activism.
The Associação Mulheres Guerreiras is one of the newest groups of sex workers formed in Brazil, yet it has been incredibly active in activism, advocacy and campaigning. As a member of the Brazilian Network of Prostitutes (Rede Brasileira de Prostitutas), it has established actions at the local and national level. It is recognised today as one of the most active pro-sex worker rights organisation in Brazil.
"I really believe in action and I believe in human ability. I don't accept "I can't" from myself or other sex worker activists - old or new. I believe that all people learn best by having to use their own initiative, cultivating their own ideas and by actually doing something - no matter what their effort yields, the process of doing it is what's crucial."
Malee Van Derberg is a sex worker leader involved in Empower Foundation (Thailand) . In this interview, Malee talks about her life, work and activism.
Maggie's: The Toronto Sex Workers Action Project, Canada’s oldest sex worker-led organisation, was founded in 1986, when one of its primary goals was to address the then-emerging HIV/AIDS crisis. Today, Maggie’s is primarily funded as a harm reduction organisation through the Ontario Ministry of Health’s AIDS Bureau, and provides safer sex and safer drug use supplies; education, and support.