Tag Archives: Denver

In Memory December 17th 2016


Videos shown:

2008 DC March:  https://vimeo.com/81905792

HIPS 2012:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51XI9XyGuv8

Asia Pacific Series: https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PLXnXrJefVnLJe-1ZMrq-GK7qHF_yMwoUH&v=O3XG5565ow4

SWOP Denver Holds Vigil in Remembrance for International Day to End Violence, December 17th, 2015

List of memorialized names.  Warning:  contains details of deaths as well as names and in some cases images of the deceased.

December 17 names 2015


Media coverage of event.

KGNU covers Denver event


2015 Events.


Videos shown.


Additional videos.

(Above includes 8 linked videos from APNSW)






SWOP Denver

Rachel Carlisle





Denver, Colorado – SWOP Denver commends Amnesty International for calling today for the full decriminalization of sex work, including the removal of criminal penalties against “prostitution,” “soliciting,” “patronizing a prostitute,” “promoting prostitution,” “loitering with intent” or “prostitute making display,” “brothel-keeping,” and more. The vote was finalized on August 11th at the 2015 International Council Meeting in Dublin, Ireland. Amnesty International joins several other international human rights and health groups including Human Rights Watch, the World Health Organization, and UNAIDS in calling for the full decriminalization of sex work. The decision has been lauded by the Global Network of Sex Work Projects, which includes 237 organizations in 71 countries, including SWOP Denver, and whose petition in support of Amnesty’s draft policy garnered over 10,000 signatures. The resolution did not contain any recommendations for removing criminal penalties against forced or coerced labor or trafficking, and encouraged governments to take steps to ensure protection against the exploitation of children.

“We want to offer our sincere gratitude to Amnesty International for voting to uphold our human rights,” said Rachel Carlisle of SWOP Denver. “Decriminalization is essential to our efforts to fight for our rights and against violence, stigma, discrimination, and mistreatment.” SWOP Denver is a group of current and former sex workers and allies who are organizing for rights and justice. SWOP Denver’s activities include the maintenance of a “Bad Date List” of violent clients and holding events such as the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers on December 17th of each year.

The purpose of the resolution is to “adopt a policy that seeks attainment of the highest possible protection of the human rights of sex workers” and it is the result of two years of consultation with members and human rights advocates, including Amnesty’s own independent research into the impact of legal models on the rights, health, and safety of sex workers in Argentina, Norway, Hong Kong, and Papua New Guinea. This research confirms the findings of many other researchers and human rights groups. Amnesty notes, “[s]ex workers are criminalised and negatively affected by a range of sex work laws—not just those on the direct sale of sex.” In Norway, laws against “promoting” prostitution make sex workers working together for safety into criminals, and police interventions such as “Operation Homeless” “ led to the systematic and rapid eviction of many sex workers from their places of work and homes.” The name of this intervention calls to mind the US DOJ’s “Operation Chokepoint,” in which the personal bank accounts of sex workers and other groups of people were seized.

The medical journal The Lancet, in their 2014 series on HIV and sex workers, concluded that the decriminalization of sex work in all settings would avert 33-46% of HIV infections in the next decade. The Lancet also states that criminalization increases the risk of violence and abuse by clients, police, and the public, and decreases sex workers’ access to human rights such as healthcare. The conflation of sex work and trafficking is common but “clouds the issue of safety for sex workers” and leads to “difficulties with definition and harm to sex workers on the ground” as well as “conflicts that undermine HIV prevention.” They also note that the “self-regulatory board (SRB) developed by the Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee (Sonagachi, India) and replicated by Ashodaya Samithi (Mysore, India) reports better antitrafficking and antiviolence results at every stage—identification, protection, case management, and follow-up—compared with the raid and rescue model.”

In a letter of support for Amnesty International’s draft policy, UNAIDS director Michel Sidibé wrote, “It is Peter Benenson, the founder of Amnesty International, who reminded us that “the candle burns not for us, but for all those whom we failed.” Sex workers are among those whose rights we have failed to protect. I urge you and the Amnesty International Council to keep the candle burning for them until their rights are upheld and their humanity fulfilled.”


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.

SWOP Denver Supports the Memorial and Remembrance of Slain Transgender People in 2013

For Immediate Release


SWOP Denver Supports the Memorial and Remembrance of Slain Transgender People in 2013

Denver, CO

The Gender Identity Center of Colorado will hold a celebration of life for the transgender women and men who died at the hands of others during this past year at the Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20th at Jefferson Unitarian Church in Golden at 7pm. SWOP Denver recognizes and values the transgender members of our communities and all transgender people everywhere. Transgender people, particularly transgender women, are overrepresented in our community due to the many difficulties society places in the paths and lives of transgender people.

In particular, we would like to remember and honor Dora Oezer, a female transgender sex worker who was murdered by a customer in her home in Turkey on July 2nd. Dora Oezer will be memorialized this year during both the Transgender Day of Remembrance and at SWOP Denver’s December 17th memorial for the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers.

On July 12th, the Turkish sex workers rights organization Red Umbrella Sexual Health and Human Rights Association held a protest and read a press release in Ankara about Dora’s murder and transphobic and whorephobic murders in general. On July 19th, Dora’s murder and the murder of Swedish sex worker and sex workers rights activist Petite Jasmine inspired an international wave of protests against violence against sex workers in thirty six cities across the globe outside of Turkish and Swedish embassies.

Event Details

Host: Gender Identity Center of Colorado
What: Transgender Day of Remembrance

Where: Jefferson Unitarian Church,
14350 W 32nd Ave,Golden CO
When: 7pm November 20th

Event Details

Host: SWOP Denver
What: International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers

Where: The Bakery, 2132 Market Street, Denver CO

When: 6pm December 17th

About SWOP Denver: SWOP Denver is the Denver chapter of the Sex Workers Outreach Project. We are a grassroots organization that provides peer support and advocates for the human and labor rights of sex workers and people who trade sex. We have monthly member meetings, educational and memorial events, and social get togethers. We also collaborate on weekly street outreach and coordinate a bad date line.