2013 has been a very active and exciting year for SWOP-Chicago!
In May, we launched the PROS Network-Chicago, a network of service providers offering neutral, non-judgmental and culturally sensitive services to folks involved in the sex trade, and supported the development of a similar resource network in Philadelphia.
In conjunction with the PROS Network, we also expanded our efforts to ensure sex workers have access to culturally competent, non-judgmental resources through the development of education programming for service providers. In 2013, we’ve gave trainings at Rape Victim Advocates, Thresholds, Heartland Alliance, Howard Brown, AASECT, Howard Area Community Center, UIC medical and nursing schools, DePaul University and University of Chicago’s Sex Week. We also attended the Desiree Alliance and gave presentations to help other sex worker activists develop resource networks and service provider trainings.
Throughout the year, we tabled at events including Dandelions in the Concrete, Cinekink, and Sexfest and organized a tax workshop, film-screening of The Scarlet Road, and community-building events on Sex Worker Rights Day and International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers.
And in September, we started conducting weekly outreach to street-based workers and other vulnerable populations in East Garfield Park. In all, we’ve distributed over 13,000 condoms, hundreds of hot beverages and snacks, and just over a 2,000 PROS Network resource maps through street-outreach, at events, businesses & social service agencies and through peer-distribution.
We’re hoping to make 2014 even more productive!
In addition to continuing street-based outreach in East Garfield Park and service provider training, we hope to:
- Begin holding community meetings on the West Side to include street-based sex workers in our advocacy and education.
- Distribute 50-70,000 condoms to sex workers and other vulnerable communities. Check out our 2014 Condom Distribution Plan here!
- Help to offer much-needed legal services to folks involved in the sex trade in the Chicago-land area.
- Secure an office space to house materials, outreach supplies, and meetings.
- Continue offering rights, safety, and tax workshops, and help sex workers in the Chicago Area enroll in health insurance programs.
- Start holding more regular peer-support activities.
And we’ll need your help to pay for rent and utilities on an office, purchase outreach supplies, pay for stipends and snacks for community advisory meetings and leadership-building events with folks we conduct outreach with, print pocket PROS Network maps and SWOP brochures, and secure snacks & space for workshops and supportive activities.