Sex Workers Outreach Project-USA is a grassroots network dedicated to the fundamental human rights of sex workers and their communities, focusing on ending violence and stigma through education, community building, and advocacy. In 2016, SWOP Behind Bars (SBB) was founded to carry this mission further: to currently and formerly incarcerated sex workers.
SBB supports decriminalization of adult consensual sex work. In the early days of the activism, Margo St James sued the state of California, insisting loudly on improving programs and services for prostitutes in prison. 20 years later, we still loudly protest the criminalization of sex work, striving to minimize the harms done under this system. There are so many sex workers in prisons and jails across the US, and they need to know we are here for them. Many do not identify as sex workers, yet it only takes a cursory search of the Department of Corrections websites to recognize that there is a large incidence of prostitution convictions. Incarcerated ex workers, whether they self-identify or not, do not know about the vibrant sex worker community that is rising up in the US. We think they should! Even if they choose never to self-identify, we want to give those who have been incarcerated on prostitution convictions human rights information based on the advances of sex worker rights.