The Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP) is a national grassroots movement which focuses on improving the lives of sex industry workers by promoting safety, dignity and diversity in sex work, and fosters an environment that affirms individual choices and occupational rights.
SWOP-Tucson is the Tucson, Arizona chapter of SWOP-USA. Tucson has been one of the nation’s foremost cities in the Sex Worker Rights Movement, hosting international events and festivals since 2001, and raising the awareness of our fight for equal protection under the law.
IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN STARTING A PHOENIX CHAPTER, PLEASE CONTACT INFO@SWOP-TUCSON.ORG! Our Tucson outreach team will come to you, teach you how to organize, provide leadership training, materials, and ideas, put you in touch with national resources and other SWOP chapters, and completely support your efforts!
What does it mean to be an ally toÂ sex workers?Â Find out here.
Learn more about the Sex Workers Outreach Project here. And check out the National SWOP site.
More About SWOP
At its most basic, SWOP is an anti-violence campaign. As a multi-state network of sex workers and advocates, we address locally and nationally the violence that sex workers experience because of their criminal status.
Operating in one of the most predominentlyÂ violent societies today, sex workers in America experience this phenomenon pointedly in the context of their criminal status. Yet, sex workers are seldom afforded protection or recourse from violent acts committed against them because of the precarious, often graft-ridden relationship between sex work and law enforcement.
Society tolerates violence against sex workers because of the stigma and myths that surround prostitution. Only until these falsehoods are corrected and sex workers are legitimized will we be able to effectively prevent and minimize the structural and occupational challenges of sex work.
Serial killers like Gary Leon Ridgeway, the Green River Killer who preyed on prostitutes, managed to evade law enforcement for over 2 decades. Meanwhile women, like Robyn Few and Shannon Williams, who as adults had consensual sex for money, are routinely targeted for elaborate high budget police stings. This gross misappropriation of public resources systematically entraps sex work to be a profession that is unsafe andÂ stigmatized.
The system, effectively, is institutional violence against theÂ people who exchange money for sex.
SWOP works to educate policymakers and the public on the institutional harms committed against sex workers, and advocates for alternatives. Our first major actionÂ was to organize the first annual International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers in 2003 with the Green River Memorial to the victims of Gary Leon Ridgeway. In 2004, SWOP spearheaded a voter ballot initiative to decriminalize prostitution in Berkeley, CA.
Some of our more recent work focuses on amending so called “protective” legislation like the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000 (and now its reauthorization in 2005 with the new End Demand provisions) which has increased criminal penalties and the stigma associated with sex work. SWOP promotes proven and effective social policyÂ approaches to the sex industry.
In order to reach its goals, SWOP adopts the principles and practices of nonviolent action in order to reduce violence and achieve dignity and rights for sex workers.