Legislators of this century have continued to fail to realise that prostitutes are not a special breed of women with compulsions to indulge in criminal behaviour...socially, culturally and psychologically prostitute women pursue lifestyles little different to the millions of other single working women, wives and mothers in the...community. Popular mythology keeps prostitute women separated from other women in people's minds, while the law, founded as it is in 19th century puritanism, keeps them separated in the social order.
-Working girls: prostitutes, their life and social control by Roberta Perkins





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People  Individuals who have made a difference  (always a work in progress! If you have someone/something to add, please send it to email@swop-lv.org.)
Sex work positive
Sex workers, activists, researchers, and allies

Laura Agustin
Researcher and consultant in migration for sex work.
Home Page
Interview re World Cup Prostitutes

Interview re Sex at the Margins with Suzi Weissman

Priscilla Alexander
One of the original members of COYOTE
Our Bodies, Our Minds (Documentary)

Norma Jean Almodovar
President and Founder of ISWFACE, author of Cop to Call Girl, worked as a prostitute after leaving the Los Angeles Police Department where she was employed for ten years. When not in prison, she has served as the (unpaid) Executive Director of COYOTE LA/Southern California since 1983. She attended most of the international and national conferences on prostitution, and in 1995, she was a delegate to the United Nations Women's Conference in Beijing. She co-organized, co-sponsored and co-chaired the 1997 International Conference on Prostitution with the Center for Sex Research at California State University, Northridge.
ISWFACE on wikipedia

Lady Aster
Post Transgender Escort, Sex Worker Rights activist, and philosophy enthusiast, and was one of the original members of SWOP USA.

Hazera Begum
Founder and Director of Durjoy Network, Bangladesh

Skytrinia Berkeley
Peer Advocate for Different Avenues
Skytrinia does outreach in exotic dance clubs where she talks with women about organizing for their rights and improving working conditions. She played a key role in coordinating the community based research on policing practices in the Washington DC area, along with the the National Sex Worker Leadership Training. Skytrinia is a powerful voice in the national sex worker rights movement. (source)

Barb Brents, PhD
Professor of Sociology, UNLV who studies sex work and commercialization, Nevada brothels, and other sociological interests in sex work.

Jill Brenneman
Former sex slave, former sex worker, Jill is now an activist, blogger, sexual assault counselor, and radio talk show host. She's an incredible woman with an incredible story.
XXBN Blog Talk Radio

Amanda Brooks
Author, activist, and escort. Amanda wrote The Internet Escort's Handbook, a series of books about internet escorting. She is a member of Desiree Alliance, SWOP East, and a default member of SWOP Las Vegas.
Personal page
Video Profile

Melissa Ditmore, PhD
Editor, Encyclopedia of Prostitution and Sex Work Research Consultant for The Sex Workers Project
Dr. Ditmore's Bio

Jo Doezema
Sexuality and Human Rights Consultant

Renegade Evolution
Blogger, sex worker, activist, and general gadfly.
Video Profile
On XBN Radio

Robyn Few
Robyn reignited the sex workers rights movement when she was arrested in 2002 under John Ashcroft, who used the Patriot Act to equate terrorism with prostitution. Robyn used her anger at this injustice to start SWOP-USA, modelled on the original SWOP in Australia. She has since worked tirelessly to promote the decriminalization of prostitution.
Robyn Few's Bio

Kate Frank, PhD
Kate Frank is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and does research on exotic dancing. Frank became an exotic dancer to write her PhD dissertation, G-Strings and Sympathy, which was based on her observations of regular customers in the dance clubs at which she worked.

Michael Goodyear, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Dalhousie University, Canada
Dr. Goodyear is interested in issues of women's health, is an avid supporter of sex workers' rights, and participates in activism.

Belinda Brooks-Gordon
Belinda Brooks-Gordon is reader in psychology and social policy at Birkbeck, University of London
Home Page
Article: Playing Politics with Sex Workers

Kate Hausebeck, PhD
Senior Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Academic Affairs
Associate Professor of Sociology
Has worked on brothel research for several years with Barb Brents.

Avaren Ipsen
Avaren Ipsen earned her doctorate in Biblical Literature in 2006 at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. She is a lecturer at UC Berkeley in the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies where she teaches social theory. Ipsen also serves as vice-chair of the Berkeley Commission on the Status of Women.

Dr. Smarajit Jana
Started SHIP project in Calcutta, which became DMSC

Carol Jenkins (1946-2008)
"Carol worked tirelessly for the health and human rights of marginalized people throughout the world, using her research skills to collect data and document the lives of people in order to improve their situations with evidence of what would benefit them. She often asked, 'Where's the data?'"
Her publications include "Sex Work Projects" and "Empowering Sex Workers."

Alternate Visions

Ann Jordan
Ann Jordan is Director of the Program on Forced Labor and Trafficking in the Center on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at American University’s Washington College of Law.
Article: Sex Trafficking and the Abolitionist Fallacy

Kamala Kempadoo
Professor of Sociology
Interim Director, Graduate Programme in Social and Political Thought
School of Women's Studies at York University, Toronto.
She specializes in transnational and Caribbean feminisms; sex work and sexual-economic relations; the global trafficking of persons; and intersections of race, gender and class. Kempadoo is author or editor of Trafficking and Prostitution Reconsidered: New Perspectives on Migration, Sex Work, and Human Rights (Paradigm, 2005), Sexing the Caribbean: Gender, Race and Sexual Labor (Routledge, 2004), Sun, Sex and Gold: Tourism and Sex Work in the Caribbean (Rowman and Littlefield, 1999), and Global Sex Workers: Rights, Resistance and Redefinition (Routledge, 1998). Kempadoo has a B.A. and M.A. from the University of Amsterdam, and a Ph.D. from the University of Colorado.

Dr. Robert Morgan Lawrence, EdD
has 25 years of experience in the field of human sexuality. He has a doctorate of education in human sexuality. As a publicly available expert he is a sex industry consultant, educator and (academic) author. He lectures extensively about human sexuality and health. Together Carol Queen and Robert teach, write, and produce sex education events and materials.

Carol Leigh, aka Scarlot Harlot
Activist, author, artist, unrepentant whore, all-around fabulous woman! Spokesperson for COYOTE, SF.
Video Profile

Gloria Lockett
Original member of Coyote, sex worker, and activist.

Paulo Longo (1964- 2004)
Brazilian Sex Worker Rights Advocate
Co-founder of Network of Sex Work Projects
May he rest in peace.

Ann Lucas, AB, JD, PhD
Graduate Advisor & Associate Professor, Justice Studies Dept., San Jose State University
A.B., Legal Studies, University of California, Berkeley J.D., Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California, Berkeley Ph.D., Jurisprudence & Social Policy, University of California, Berkeley
Research interests:  prostitution and sex work; gender, law & crime; American drug policy; immigration and asylum law and policy; victimless crime; sociology of law. Member, State Bar of California (inactive); Law & Society Association.

Veronica Monet
Author, activist, lifetime whore.

Sharmus Outlaw
Transgender activist, sex worker, and awesome woman!
Testimony on Omnibus Public Safety Act of 2005

Cheryl Overs
One of the founders of the Australian and the Victorian Prostitutes Collectives and the Australian federation of sex worker organizations, The Scarlet Alliance. She is currently the coordinator of the Network of Sex Work Projects, an advocacy and information sharing network. She is the author of several articles on sex work and has recently coedited 'Making Sex Work Safe: A Practical Guide for Field workers, Programme Managers and Policy Makers' (September 1997). She was the international co-organizer of ICOP 1997.

Carol Queen, PhD
Author, editor, sociologist and sexologist active in the sex-positive feminist movement. Staff sexologist for Good Vibrations. Started Center for sex and Culture with her partner, Dr. Robert Lawrence, in SF.

Cheryl Radeloff, PhD
Assistant Professor of Women's Studies, Minnesota State University, Mankato
Contact Info

Audacia Ray
Author, blogger, media maven, and former sex worker. She was an editor for $pread Magazine for 5 years, and authored Naked on the Internet.
Her Online CV
Her blog, Waking Vixen
Live Girl Reviews

Grisélidis Réal (1929-2005)
"Involved in the protest and occupation of the Chapelle Saint-Bernard in Montparnasse in 1973, she became known as the "catin révolutionnaire" ("revolutionary whore") when she helped to found Aspasie, the first association to come to the aid of ill-treated prostitutes. She also set up an International Centre of Documentation about Prostitution in Geneva, a reference source now much used by researchers and sociologists."

Teela Sanders, PhD
Senior Lecturer in Sociology of Crime and Deviance, University of Leeds, UK
Does extensive research on sex workers and clients.

Penelope Saunders, PhD
Founder and director, Best Practices Policy Project
Founder, Different Avenues
Rep, Woodhull FReedom Foundation and Federation
Penelope Saunders is a representative of the Woodhull Freedom Foundation & Federation, Best Practices Policy Project, a national group working to build capacity in organizations working with sex workers and advocating for policies that allow these organizations to work in effective ways. Previously she was a Rockefeller Research Fellow at the Program for the Study of Sexuality, Gender, Health and Human Rights, Columbia School of Public Health.
Fifteen Years after the World Charter for Prostitutes’ Rights

Meena Seshu
Founder and Secretary General of Sampada Grameen Mahila Sanstha (SANGRAM), an HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and support organization, Seshu works with socially marginalized populations in Maharashtra State, India. In addition to educating the general public about HIV/AIDS, SANGRAM targets sex workers and other marginalized populations at risk of HIV/AIDS infection, improving their health, building their capacity to negotiate for safer sex and supporting them in asserting and defending their rights.

Annie Sprinkle, PhD
ormer prostitute, stripper, porn film star, cable television host, porn magazine editor and current writer, artist, educator, and sex film producer.

Love Art Labratory
Lip Magazine Interview

Francis Shaver, PhD
Researcher at Concordia University in Canada

Margot St. James
Founder of COYOTE and first sex worker rights activist in the US.
St. James, Margo (1)
St. James, Margo (2)

Jo Weldon
Exotic Dancer and Burlesque star, activist, and all around smart cookie. Jo "Boobs" teaches the art of burlesque in NYC.

Rachel Wotton
Permanent member of the Womens’ Metropolitan Outreach Team at Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP), New South Wales, Australia, and International Spokesperson for Scarlet Alliance, Australia





Not sex work positive
Sex work prohibitionists

Kathleen Barry

Julie Bindel

Gail Dines

Melissa Farley

Norma Hotaling

Donna Hughes

Sheila Jeffreys 

Robert Jensen

Janice Raymond





Sex Workers' Rights are Human Rights! Do you care about your right to work in the sex industry? Are you tired of laws that punish people for how they earn a living? Join with other activists to change the laws and stand up for your rights! Visit www.desireealliance.org


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