SWOP-NOLA Meeting 8/28/14: What happened

Safer Sex Supplies from Dykeadence

SW-only Self-Defense Class

Submit Your Story for Inclusion in a Report of Human Rights Abuses Experienced by Sex Workers

Desiree Alliance Conference

Website and Facebook Page Access

Questionnaire on SW Working Conditions

Free Human Trafficking Online Course

Maggie Mcneill

Update on Healthcare Project

Safer Sex Supplies from Dykeadence

Last year, the organizers of Dykeadence donated their excess safer sex supplies to us for our December 17th International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers event.  We’re going to apply for funds to buy their excess materials (and perhaps more) for the December 17th event this year.

SW-only Self-Defense Class

There was a free self defense course back in July that focused on “hands-on experience learning simple and effective techniques for self-defense.”  From the Facebook event page:

We want to avoid violent situations at almost any cost, but if it is necessary to defend yourself, you need to know how to quickly strike to incapacitate and attacker and break away. We’ll cover situations with both unarmed and armed attackers.  We’ll also learn techniques for de-escalating a situation, when it might be best to feign cooperation, to run away, or when it might be necessary to fight.

After the fact, a few people in the local SW community expressed interest in the course and wanted to know if it would be offered again soon.  We are currently assessing interest in a private, SW-only class.  If there are enough potential attendees, we’ll approach a local self-defense instructor, and depending on the fees, we may seek funding from national.

Submit Your Story for Inclusion in a Report of Human Rights Abuses Experienced by Sex Workers

(This deadline has apparently been extended, but send your submissions in ASAP)

From a Facebook post by Cris Sardina:

The Best Practices Policy Project (BPPP), Desiree Alliance, and SWOP NYC are calling on sex workers rights advocates and allies to join us in reporting the human rights abuses experienced by sex workers, people in the sex trades, people profiled as sex workers or impacted by anti-sex work policing and policies, and related communities.

The U.S. will soon be reviewed by the United Nations (U.N.) Human Rights Council on its human rights record in a process referred to as the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). We are submitting a report to the U.N. and the U.N. needs to hear from you. Through this process, we create awareness before the international community, media outlets, other government officials, U.N. Human Rights Council members, and other stakeholders on the pressing issues facing the community.

This is an important tool for pressuring the government to make changes. To write this report, we need to hear from those who have directly experienced human rights violations and we are reaching out to folks until August 25th 2014. We hope to collect testimony and data from sex workers and related communities that we can include in our report. If there are specific instances of rights violations, you wish to share with us, we will incorporate these into the report. First-hand accounts of violations people have experienced are what the UN needs to hear most. Also know that these accounts can be anonymous in the report and that we will share a draft of the report with you so you can check that no identifying details are included.

If you are interested in participating, please email us at BPPP (bestpracticespolicyproject@gmail.com) or directly to one of our team including J.Kirby, Kat Thomas, Penelope Saunders, Darby Hickey, Cris Sardina and Kate D’Adamo. We are happy to help people and groups understand what the UPR is and how the process works, and we would value learning about your experience working to advocate for rights at the U.N. to increase our collective knowledge. We can also assist with drafting testimony and organizing data. We will draft the report and send it to you or your organization’s representative before submitting to ensure that we correctly documented your experiences.

Cristine Sardina BWS, MSJ
Desiree Alliance Co-director
director@desireealliance.org

Desiree Alliance Conference

We discussed the possibility of holding the 2015 Desiree Alliance Conference in New Orleans and who will play what roles in organizing it.  This group must be representative of sex workers in New Orleans and the overall population of NOLA (i.e., not dominated by middle class white cis female sexworkers).  Those interested in working on this should either discuss it on the (private) SWOP-NOLA google group, or contact each other directly.

Some of the events of the 2013 conference are linked here.

Website and Facebook Page Access

Whoever wants admin/posting privileges to the website and/or the Facebook page needs to speak up so that we can get them set up to do that.

Questionnaire on SW Working Conditions

from a SWOP-NOLA member:

A sex worker comrade from Australia I met recently is making a resource zine detailing working conditions across the world. Attached is a questionnaire for people to use to describe their experiences, and the results will be used to guide people wherever they are working. Her email address is included if you have any further questions. Hope some of us get a chance to fill it out!

I’ll post a link to this if/when I get permission to do so. Until then, if you’re interested in filling this out, contact us at swop.nola@gmail.com.

Free Human Trafficking Online Course

Here’s your chance to see firsthand what they’re teaching well-intentioned students about the sex industry!  I can’t attest to the accuracy/inaccuracy of this course.

This was posted in the FB Group Whorephobia and Transphobia: End the Hate Now! by Bella Robinson:

Coursera is FREE online education so anyone can take this class!  I recommend that anyone who has the time to take this class do so. I am not computer savvy, but withing a few hours, I could see that this wasn’t about human trafficking, and that it was focused on sex trafficking; thus conflating sex work with trafficking, We need to have a good discussion, and call them out on all the incorrect data. Rarely are we given the opportunity to have our voices heard. I think that our community needs to involved in this discussion.  Ohio State University – Human Trafficking Course

Maggie Mcneill

Author/blogger Maggie Mcneill is in town.  If you’d like to meet with her or have her speak at an event, you can contact her through her blog/website or through Twitter.

Update on Healthcare Project

Lots of stuff going on with this!  A more detailed update on this project is coming soon, but for now, here are some of the things that are in the works:

  • Survey (both online and paper) to be distributed to local SWs, which will lead to, among other things:
  • Dr/Clinic reviews compiled into a searchable database
  • “Warmline” that SWs can call for info on healthcare resources
  • Possible partnerships with other local orgs

Other

According to one of our members, St. Thomas Health Clinic is awesome and affordable.
Daughters of Charity, however, just “doesn’t do” birth control, despite the fact that they receive state funding. 

Oh, and BTW:

Sex Workers Outreach Project

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