Stand with SWOP-Chicago in Supporting Amnesty International’s Proposal on Decriminalization of Sex Work

April 3, 2014

For Immediate Release

 

The Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP)-Chicago supports the proposal put forth by Amnesty International to decriminalize prostitution.  We believe that the criminalization of actors participating in the sex trade contributes to a host of negative effects for both sellers and buyers of sexual services: it alienates them from communities that support their health and human rights, precludes the development of social services that can help them address issues of concern, undermines their ability to protect themselves from HIV/AIDS and other STIs, and eliminates the agency of individual sex workers.  In countries where sex work is decriminalized, violence against sex workers is reduced and access to health and human services is increased.

The removal of punitive laws and policies targeting sex workers is crucial.  SWOP-Chicago is not alone in this belief.  International agencies such as The Global Commission on HIV and the Law, UNAIDS , the World Health Organization, the Global Alliance Against the Trafficking in Women (GAATW) and the Human Rights Watch have called for or support the decriminalization of sex work. Contrary to what some may have you believe, decriminalization is NOT an attempt to legalize ‘pimps’, nor does it increase exploitation of sex workers. Such arguments are made with a limited understanding of the sex trade, a limited understanding of global capitalism, and undermines the struggle for sex workers to live healthy, safe, stigma-free lives.  

Decriminalization will help sex workers address all forms of exploitation, including abusive or sub-standard working conditions instituted by both state and non-state actors. In countries such as the United States where sex work is criminalized, sex workers are often afraid to come forth   Criminalization of buyers of sex will not eliminate this concern, but would instead drive the industry further underground. Clients will be more likely to withhold personal information that sex workers need to keep them safe in order to prevent the police from using this information.  

Finally, SWOP-Chicago is committed to ending human trafficking within the sex trade.  Criminalization of prostitution hampers the anti-trafficking efforts of organizations working with people in the sex trade and makes it easier for sex workers to be wrongly categorized as trafficked persons.  Moreover, under criminalization, there is a reduced chance that those who are trafficked into the sex trade will come forward against their traffickers.  Criminalizing the buyers of sex is tantamount to eliminating the agency of individual sex workers, and creates an environment conducive to the proliferation of human trafficking.

SWOP-Chicago and other members of the sex worker rights movement are in agreement with with other human rights movements in condemning the abuse and violation of the rights of all individuals, including sex workers.  Thus, we stand in solidarity with Amnesty International in calling for the full decriminalization of prostitution.  

Please join us in posting this statement and spreading the word via social media using the hashtags on Friday, April 4 in support of Amnesty International’s consultation of the decriminalization of sex work.

#YESamnestyDECRIM #Amnesty2014

#NotYourRescueProject #Amnesty2014

#StandWithYouthWhoTrade #Amnesty2014

Tumblr- http://endcriminalizationnow.tumblr.com/

 

Members of SWOP-Chicago

www.swop-chicago.org

info@swop-chicago.org

@swopchicago

https://www.facebook.com/SwopChicago

 

Spend Labor Day with SWOP! South Side BBQ and Movie Night

SWOP invites all sex workers to help us close out the summer with a south side BBQ and movie night! We’re firing up the grill and having an impromptu meet and greet for current and former industry workers. Later in the evening, we’ll be showing some choice selections from 2011′s Sex Worker Film Festival on an outdoor screen. Please bring your own booze/beverages, a dish to share, and whatever you’d like our sexy grillmaster to fire up for you.

This is a SEX WORKER ONLY event, open to current or former workers of all genders. Sorry, no allies or partners allowed. blog-retro-bbq-girl

 

The Deets…

Date- Monday, September 2 – Labor Day

Time- 3pm- ???

Location- South Side Chicago (near Hyde Park)

There is a Metra train stop nearby, but we encourage folks to carpool to this event if possible. SWOP members will be available to pick people up at train stations nearby at different times.

Please email- info@swop-chicago.org or call (312) 252-3880 to RSVP and get location information

 

“Taxes, Tea & Coffee” – Tax/Money Management Worshop Saturday, January 26

Working in the Adult Entertainment Biz and want to get 2013 off to a good financial start?
Join SWOP-Chicago for a tax and money management workshop this January 26!
tax flyer - Big
When
Saturday, January 26, 2013
2-4:30 p.m.
Where
Rogers Park (near Loyola redline)
RSVP for address
What
William Enmark, a CPA with an investment/finance background and over 17 years of experience as a tax professional, will lead the workshop. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions and share their experiences.
Workshop will cover topics including:
* The benefits of filing taxes
* Tax deductions sex workers can claim
* Budgeting your income and managing your money for the year
* How to stay legal and who can help
* Dealing with a “cash-only” income and how much to set aside for taxes

After the workshop, we will be hosting a coffee/tea/social hour for networking and to share information.

This event is free to attend!

RSVP: via email (meg@swop-chicago.org) or phone (312) 252-3880

December 17th 2012, Memoriam Video

The Sex Worker Outreach Project of Chicago (SWOP-Chicago) hosted the 10th Annual December 17th, International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers celebration & candlelight vigil in Chicago…

Over 70 individuals involved in the sex trade internationally were documented as falling to violence in 2012.
This year these persons were honored in a video memoriam, played during the vigil event in Chicago.

Song is Deep Red Bells, by Neko Case.
Video editing by John Rodriguez

The Veneration of Whores! December 17th…

The Veneration of Whores ~ Celebration & Candlelight Vigil
10th Annual, International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers
Come enjoy a beautiful evening of celebration & community in Chicago!
Join us as we pay respect to life by honoring our dead and firmly resist ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­the
 institutional and physical violence committed against sex workers worldwide.
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EVENTS THIS YEAR INCLUDE:

• Speakers (TBA)
• Community Commemoration Graffiti Wall
• Special Burlesque & Art Performances
• Robyn Few “Patron Saint of Sex Workers” Shrine 
• Featuring queer DJ All the Way Kay
• Candlelight vigil for sex worker victims in 2012
• Wine & Tea by donation

✔ Bring yourself
✔ … and bring a Friend!
✔ Bring some positive energy
✔ Bring solidarity
✔ Please also consider bringing something healing ,or personal, or special to share/commemorate & glue/write on the community wall; or leave at the “Patron Saint of Sex Workers” Shrine. —-> feather boas, candles, mementos, condoms, poetry, hotel key cards… (get creative!) (glue & markers provided)


This is an ALL-AGES event, which is Open to the Public.
• Light Snacks & Refreshments will be Provided!
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For more information contact the SWOP-Chicago: 
www.swop-chicago.org |  312-252-3800  | sexworkchicago@gmail.com

Support SWOP-Chicago AND Women With A Vision on June 14!

SWOP-Chicago will be donating a portion of the proceeds from our June 14 benefit party to Women With A Vision, a New Orleans based organization that was burned down two weeks ago in a direct attack on women’s reproductive rights. to find out more about how you can help Women With A Vision, please go here.

Additionally, Chicago Recovery Alliance will be offering FREE vaccinations and STD testing, as well as condoms, clean needles, and lube from @8:30-10:30 in front of Beauty Bar the evening of our event. Look for the silver van.

“What’s Your Price?” Benefit Party- Thursday, June 14 at Beauty Bar

Sex Workers Outreach Project-Chicago presents:
WHAT’S YOUR PRICE? Benefit Party!!

Come one, come all!
A sexy fundraiser for a sexy harm-reduction cause…
all you have to do is show up & enjoy the fine people & fine libations!

Thursday, June 14th —–> Beauty Bar, 1444 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL —> $10 Donation, 21 and over
8pm: Doors Open
9-11pm: Performers
11-2am: Dance Party

✔ LIVE MUSIC:

• DJ All The Way Kay
• SQUISH
• Lezurreccion
• StratosQueer

✔ BURLESQUE PERFORMANCES:

• Oosha Boom
• Feral Minette
• And More….!

✔ SPANKING/FLOGGING BOOTH

✔ RAFFLE PRIZES

“Taxes and Toddies”- Tax/Money Management Workshop and Cocktail Hour Tuesday, March 6

Join SWOP-Chicago for a tax and money management workshop on Tuesday, March 6 at a private location in Chicago. Included will be resources on better money management skills, as well as referrals to sex worker friendly accountants and tax preparation professionals.

Free to attend! Please BYOB if you would like to stay for cocktail hour and networking after workshop.

Please RSVP to sexworkchicago@gmail.com or call (312) 252-3880 for location address.

“International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers” Vigil- Saturday, December 17

International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers:
Come join us for a community forum, film screening and candlelight vigil

Hosted by: Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP) Chicago
When: Saturday, December 17, 2011 at 7-8:30 PM
Where: Jane Addams Hull House Museum at 800 S. Halsted Street in Chicago
Who: Current & former sex workers, allies, friends, families, and communities. This event is free and open to the public.

Join SWOP-Chicago in observing the 8th annual International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers.

Chicago– On Saturday, December 17th, sex workers and their allies will gather at vigils around the world to commemorate the annual Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, honoring sex workers who have died at the hands of violent crimes, and declaring an end to all violence against sex workers.

The Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers was inaugurated in 2003 after the conviction of Gary Ridgway (the “Green River Killer”), a serial killer responsible for the murder of at least 48 prostitutes in Washington State. One statement in his confession determined the need for a very public memorial that raises issues of violence against sex workers: “I picked prostitutes because I thought I could kill as many of them as I wanted without getting caught.”

Unfortunately, violence committed against sex workers is often perpetrated by those individuals whom we believe protect us from harm: police officers and other law enforcement agents. The additional propensity for law enforcement agents to blame sex workers for their “high-risk lifestyles” contributes to a dangerous stereotype that fuels additional violence and brutalities. It is time to recognize that violence committed against sex workers is often ignored by those whose job it is to serve and protect, and that this must end.  At this year’s event, SWOP-Chicago will host a discussion with sex workers and other marginalized groups about their experiences with violence and harassment at the hands of law enforcement.

Events this year include:

Community forum: sex workers will share their experiences of police violence

Screening of “When We Walk the Streets” and other sex worker made film screenings

Memorialization and candlelight vigil to honor sex workers who have died at the hands of violence

Light snacks and beverages will be provided.

For more information contact the Sex Workers Outreach Project Chicago
Telephone: 312-252-3880
Email: sexworkchicago@gmail.com

For Other Events Outside Chicago: www.swopusa.org/dec17