Support Group April 21

Due to the increasing stressors, due to SESTA legislation making it more difficult for people to do sex work safely and for trafficking victims to be identified, we are increasing the frequency of our support groups for current and retired sex workers. We expect to hold the groups 2-5 times per month, on Saturdays. You can also visit our Facebook page for updates.

Date/Time: Saturday April 21, 1:15pm-2:45pm

Location: Howard Brown 4025 N Sheridan (room TBD, and check our Facebook page for updates, because we may move to their new location across the street soon)

Here is a link to our Facebook event:

https://www.facebook.com/events/188032701998168/

Here is the description for the event:

Join us in solidarity for a support group for sex workers*, current and retired, hosted by Howard Brown. Whether you are in need of resources, support, or can provide support for others or just need a space to vent, please join us!

We will continue to talk about SESTA and hold workshops and offer information related to changes and how to navigate those changes and stay safe.

We have a suggested donation of 10 dollars but no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

The room location is currently TBD, so look for a SWOP representative in the lobby or call/text 708-320-3078 to be directed into the room.

Please send us a message if anyone needs a ride so we can arrange help getting to and from the meeting. It is a short walk from the Sheridan Redline stop. Also, if you need childcare, give me a couple days notice so we can try to arrange something.
*The sex work umbrella includes escorting, erotic phone or cam work, professional BDSM, erotic massage, stripping, porn acting, and more. If you are unsure if this group is for you, call Cassandra at 708-320-3078

18+ only

 

 

LAWMAKERS ENDANGER SEX WORKERS IN THE NAME OF RESCUE

Today’s passage of #SESTA (the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act) by the US Senate spells more danger ahead for those who work in the sex industry.

Along with #FOSTA (the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act), passed by the House of Representatives on February 27, this potentially disastrous bill seeks to amend the Communications Decency Act (CDA, which protects Internet companies from prosecution for user-posted content) to exclude anything deemed to facilitate sex trafficking. The result could be a dramatic widening of the crackdown on sex work online that began with last year’s Federal shutdown of Backpage.

Sex workers and allies faced an uphill battle against SESTA/FOSTA, which most members of Congress viewed as an easy bipartisan win on a “no-brainer” issue. Sex work has been barely visible in the national debate around this legislation, which has focused almost entirely on Net neutrality and First Amendment issues. But even some tech giants such as Facebook and IBM reversed their positions on these bills, presumably to avoid appearing to condone sex trafficking. As usual, the most vulnerable people in the equation and those most directly affected have no voice in the passage of legislation that endangers while purporting to protect them.

Yet advocates for sex workers’ rights and anti-trafficking activists agree that SESTA/FOSTA will hurt everyone working in the sex trade, including trafficked individuals. As Freedom Network USA, “the largest network of anti-trafficking service providers and advocates in the United States,” said in a recent statement,

Reforming the CDA to include the threat of civil litigation could deter responsible website administrators from trying to identify and report trafficking. It is important to note that responsible website administration can make trafficking more visible — which can lead to increased identification. …When websites are shut down, the sex trade is pushed underground and sex trafficking victims are forced into even more dangerous circumstances. Street-based sex workers report significantly higher levels of victimization, including physical and sexual violence.

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The ability to advertise and communicate openly online constitutes a major safety net for all sex workers. Take this away and workers are driven back to the danger of the streets and increased vulnerability to predatory clients and procurers. Under SESTA/FOSTA, Internet companies could ban sex workers sharing information about dangerous clients and other harm reduction resources. Only full decriminalization can empower sex workers to control the conditions of our labor.

The struggle continues against the attitudes embodied in this legislation: that people trading in sex–whether by choice, circumstance, or coercion–need rescue; that the consensual sale and purchase of sex by adults enables, or is the same as, human trafficking; that sex workers don’t deserve the same rights and respect as other types of workers. With both government and well-intentioned rescuers failing us yet again, it will now be up to the sex-work community to devise new best practices to keep workers as safe as possible from prosecution and violence, while they continue to work for survival.

#SESTA #FOSTA #LetUsSurvive #SurvivorsAgainstSESTA

SESTA Community Meeting this Sunday!

Dear sex worker family,

SWOP-Chicago is hosting a forum for workers to come together to learn about, process, and think about next steps regarding the scary law that could pass the Senate any day now: https://stopsesta.org/.  As you may know, SESTA (or FOSTA as it’s currently called in the House) would target online platforms on which many workers advertise, making our work more vulnerable and pushing many of us to the streets.

This Sunday, we want to get together to educate each other about the law, how and when it might be implemented, and best practices for continuing to work safely. We’ll be joined by lawyers from the Community Activism Law Alliance, which provides free legal representation to current and retired sex workers through the SWOP-Chicago legal clinic.  CALA will host us at their space:

5pm on Sunday March 18

17 N State St., Suite 1380

Chicago, IL 60602

 

We’ll order some pizza.  If you’re planning on coming please let Mike know at mike@swop-chicago.org so we can order enough.  But please feel free to come at the last minute even without an RSVP! And please spread the word to other workers!

Hope to see and strategize with many of you soon!

Stop SESTA!

Join SWOP-Chicago in opposing dangerous “anti-trafficking” legislation currently before the Senate. A vote is expected Monday, so there’s still time to contact your Senators and urge them to vote NO on SESTA!

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This legislation, along with the similar FOSTA that’s already passed the House, would endanger sex workers by censoring not only online advertising, but also potentially information and resource-sharing between workers and allies.

Excellent analysis here:

http://titsandsass.com/sex-workers-are-not-collateral-damage-kate-dadamo-on-fosta-and-sesta/

And a detailed call to action on the Support Ho(s)e blog:

https://supporthosechi.tumblr.com

#SurvivorsAgainstSESTA #LetUsSurive #StopSESTA #SexWorkersRightsAreHumanRights

March Sex Worker Support Group

Come to our March support group for sex workers*, current and former. Whether you are in need of resources, support, or can provide support for others or just need a space to vent, please join us!

Location and details:

Howard Brown – 4025 N Sheridan, Room B (ask at the front desk for them to direct you into Room B in the back because you have to go through a locked door)

Saturday, March 3, 1:15pm-2:45pm

We will have refreshments and suggest a donation of 10 dollars, or whatever you feel comfortable giving. Please send us a message if anyone needs a ride so we can arrange help getting to and from the meeting. It is a short walk from the Sheridan Redline stop.

18+ only

*sex workers include strippers, escorts, pro domes/subs/fetish workers, phone/cam workers, and other work that offers erotic services for something of value.

For additional questions contact group facilitator Cassandra D. at 708-320-3078

February Sex Worker Support Group

Come to our February support group for sex workers*, current and former. Whether you are in need of resources, support, or can provide support for others or just need a space to vent, please join us!

Location and details:

Howard Brown – 4025 N Sheridan, Room B (ask at the front desk for them to direct you into Room B in the back because you have to go through a locked door)

Saturday, February 3, 1:15pm-2:45pm

We will have refreshments and suggest a donation of 10 dollars, or whatever you feel comfortable giving. Please send us a message if anyone needs a ride so we can arrange help getting to and from the meeting. It is a short walk from the Sheridan Redline stop.

18+ only

*sex workers include strippers, escorts, pro domes/subs/fetish workers, phone/cam workers, and other work that offers erotic services for something of value.

For additional questions contact group facilitator Cassandra D. at 708-320-3078

Free Legal Clinic this Sunday!

SWOP legal clinic offers free legal support for sex workers, trans individuals, and people experiencing unstable housing!

Drop by our legal clinic this Sunday, January 14, from 4-7pm at our location at Lifeworks Psychotherapy in the loop (120 W. Madison, Suite 920, Chicago, IL 60602).  If you are having troubles finding us, please call (872) 228-7532.

We can take on any issue, civil or criminal.

Contact us to complete an intake form at www.calachicago.org/swopclinic/or e-mail mike@swop-chicago.org.