Autonomy for SWOP
Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP) has become an autonomous organisation, giving NSW sex workers their first independent standalone organisation to provide health information and support.
SWOP has been in operation since 1990 with funding from the NSW Ministry of Health, but until this week, has been managed by ACON. During this time, SWOP has developed best practice programs for HIV and sexual health outcomes for sex workers and a number of very successful peer education programs.
SWOP CEO Kylie Tattersall described the move to autonomy as a landmark moment. “This is an exciting and historic moment for SWOP as an organisation, and indeed for sex workers all over the world, as it acknowledges the importance of peer education and the success of community-led responses to HIV.
"It marks the beginning of a new era. Sex workers in NSW can take great pride in the remarkable health outcomes they have achieved and sustained over the years, and I believe SWOP can feel some pride from participating in, contributing to, and continuing to maintain this outstanding outcome, too.”
Adult Industry leader Madison Missina has taken on the role of SWOP Board President and will preside over a seven-member sex worker Board of Governance. Missina said she was proud to have been chosen to take SWOP into the future.
“I am so proud and humbled to have been selected by SWOP’s first board to lead us into this new era as their President. This is an honour that comes with great responsibility that I am respectful of. I will make it my mission to ensure that SWOP continues its phenomenal work, but also that our voices are heard.”
SWOP CEO Kylie Tattersall said SWOP’s evolution to an independent sex worker-led organisation was only possible thanks to the contributions of many within the sex industry, ACON and the Ministry of Health.
“We would like to acknowledge and thank the many people who have contribued to getting us to this point, both recently and in previous years, especially the SWOP Transition Committee members, a mixture of sex industry peers and partner organisations, Janelle Fawkes the CEO of Scarlet Alliance, ACON, Herbert Smith Freehills, and the Ministry of Health for their ongoing commitment to, and support of, sex worker health and safety in NSW. It has been a long journey, made possible by the work of many.”
ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill said the organisation looked forward to continuing its partnership with SWOP: “We look forward to working closely with the autonomous SWOP as health sector partners, as our organisations continue to deliver key programs, policies and initiatives in sexual health.”