What’s SWOP Denver up to?

Looking to get involved?

We hold monthly general meetings the first Sunday of every month, and current and former sex worker-only potlucks quarterly.  Our next meeting will be October 5th.  Please contact us at swopdenver@gmail.com for details.

What if I’m a current or former sex worker who feels that I don’t agree with you?

We aim to welcome diverse opinions and participation is not dependent on holding any particular beliefs.  We also have access to mediators through our national network (swopusa.org).  We believe very strongly in solidarity among current and former sex workers.

How do you define sex worker?

Stripping, camming, escorting, working in a brothel or on the street, survival sex work (for a place to stay, or in exchange for other survival needs), performing in porn, or otherwise selling sexual/ized services.  Some of us are or were employed in the legal sex industry.  Academics, sex educators, social workers, clients, and employers are not sex workers unless they also sell their own sexual/ized services, but are free to attend non-sex-worker-only meetings as allies.  Members of the press or law enforcement may not attend meetings in their capacity as press/LE, and we have press guidelines for events.

Do we need help?

Yes, absolutely!  We are the roots of the grassroots, and are currently a volunteer organization with a micro-budget.  Building membership is always difficult, and all of our members are busy people.  But even if you’re just looking for peer support and solidarity, and don’t know how much time or effort you can commit, please don’t hesitate.  We don’t have any kind of minimum contribution to our projects, or even attendance at our meetings, and we are very flexible.  Additionally, we hold potlucks that are current and former sex worker-only.  We generally have a scheduled discussion topic for these.

Can allies be involved?

Yes.  Allies can attend our general meetings and are particularly encouraged to donate their time, money, and efforts toward our current and ongoing projects.

What are our current projects?

SWOP Denver, as part of the SWOP USA national network (founded in 2003), marks four important dates yearly.  On March 3rd (International Sex Workers Rights Day) and December 17th (International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers), we hold independent events and memorials.  We also have presences at Pride and TDOR, as sex workers have a large overlap with the LGBT community, which is reflected in our membership and that of our larger network.  We also try to have presences at other events through the year – notably, we had a very well-received presence at Slutwalk Denver 2013, at which we had a booth and some brave members even spoke about their experiences of violence and other reprehensible behavior – and we aim to expand these efforts as much as possible.  We’ve attended the MLK Marade in the past and have other events on our radars as well.

We also administer a Bad Date Line (http://swopdenver.com/bdl/, and we have related ideas), hold the aforementioned monthly meetings and potlucks, and we are in the process of creating a Denver PROS Network, based on the PROS Network created by SWOP-Chicago and the NYC-based network.  This will be a list of service providers of various sorts – therapists, other mental health professionals, social services, homeless services, needle exchange, anti-violence services including sexual assault and DV services, STI/testing services, attorneys, accountants, etc. – who have agreed to be trained by us and to adhere to minimum standards in their treatment of sex worker clients.  This project is large and involved and is our current project-oriented focus as a group.

We’ve been active politically (in line with the legal nonprofit status of our parent network), though it is difficult; notably, in our outspoken opposition to SB 85 in  2011.

Many sex workers (current and former) are just looking for community, and that is an important thing we provide in addition to the above.

Please feel free to contact us at swopdenver@gmail.com for any reason.

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