877-776-2004 Ext 555 swopbehindbars@gmail.com

Slixa: FOSTA Essay Finalist

About this essay: Against FOSTA/SESTA was chosen as the First Place finalist in Slixa’s call for entires on the subject of FOSTA/SESTA. In addition to a cash award for the author, this designation also came with a matching contribution to a provider-focused service organization of the author’s choosing. Congratulations to Lucy Kahn. Slixa is proud to support SWOP – Los Angeles in their thoughtful and important work.

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Guide to Writing Letters to People Behind Bars

Currently & formerly incarcerated survivors have stated again and again how important letters of support are to their well-being. Letters are also important strategies to build relationships and organizing coalitions across prison walls. Here’s a basic guide for...

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NSWP Threads: Impact of Anti-trafficking Policy and Practise on Sex Workers’ Human Rights in Thailand

NSWP on EMPOWER Thailand: A panel from ‘Mida Tapestry’, created by migrant sex workers to compliment the ‘Hit and Run’ sex worker research project. The tapestry was first publically displayed at the 12 February, 2012, launch of the ‘Hit and Run’ research initiative in Bangkok, Thailand. Image attributed to EMPOWER Foundation. 

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Plagued by Misconduct Claims, Will Columbus’s Vice Unit Be Held Accountable?

Regarding the dubious murder of Donna Castleberry Dalton by a Columbus, Ohio undercover vice cop, Alex Andrews, co-founder of SWOP Behind Bars, which advocates for the human rights of incarcerated sex workers, wrote to Truthout in a private Facebook message, “We would like to see the entire police department help accountable for this police officer’s actions.” Truth Out: Plagued by Misconduct Claims, Will Columbus’s Vice Unit Be Held Accountable?
Art Thx To Johnny Robinson for D/17

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Prostitution “Diversion” Programs – Yale Law School

Yale Global Health Justice Partnership (GHJP) released two complementary analyses on prostitution “diversion” programs (PDPs), one national in scope and the other focused specifically on New York City programing. The reports reveal that PDPs in the United States are radically varying, but share a common thread: across the board, PDPs operate contrary to their own claims of stopping the revolving door of criminalization and victimization of ostensibly “trafficked” or “exploited” people. While PDPs position themselves as rehabilitative and compassionate alternatives to the criminal adjudication of prostitution offenses, initial findings presented in the reports suggest that, in reality, they are unable to fulfill their goals.

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Thanks to your participation in the Holiday Greeting Letters to Incarcerated Sex Workers, we set off a LOVE BOMB in prison mail rooms around the United States!  More than 25000 Holiday greeting letters were sent by more than 1600 people who help public and private letter writing parties from across the globe. 

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Tennessee Department of Corrections

“First and foremost, Cyntoia Brown did not commit this murder because she was a child sex slave as her advocates would like you to believe, Cyntoia Brown’s motive for murdering Johnny Allen in his sleep was robbery,” he said.

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PHL PA Prostitution Stats

She - Isabella - never responded to SWOP or COYOTE emails so I guess she thought we were "trolls". We still appreciate her contribution even if she had never been a hooker herself. We have all tried explaining we - who work - do not support legalization but she does...

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Pennsylvania Defined As Draconian On Prostitution  – Pennsylvania Workers-Survivors Community Clearinghouse

2017-2018 To: All House members Subject: Prostitution Recidivism. In the near future, we will be introducing legislation to change the current penalties for prostitution recidivism. Please note that under our bill, prostitution will remain a criminal offense with the current penalty of a misdemeanor of the third degree. With the passage of Act 105 in September 2014, Pennsylvania finally began to recognize people criminally charged with the non-violent crime of prostitution as who they truly are – victims of sex trafficking. However, the crime of prostitution under Pennsylvania law still carries draconian recidivist provisions which increase punishment with each new conviction

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An excerpt from the book Illegal to Legal: Business Success for the (Formerly) Incarcerated © 2014 by RL Pelshaw, used with permission.

Your strengths are found in your past, both good and bad. I’m not here to beat you up over what you did, or might even be doing now. I’m here to give you a practical path that you can follow to help you use your past to propel you to a new future, your destiny, a future where you have left your past behind you.

Take a moment and think about the Space Shuttle. Obviously, the Shuttle was not designed to stay on earth. It fulfills its destiny in space, not on the launch pad. Blasting off is not a passive event. It’s violent, explosive, and a life-or-death battle to reach the stars. What is the biggest obstacle the Shuttle must overcome to get into space? It’s not gravity but the weight of the fuel. The fuel weighs more than nineteen times what the Shuttle weighs. It’s ironic because the Shuttle needs the fuel to get into orbit, but the fuel is so heavy it becomes the biggest obstacle the Shuttle must overcome to blast into space. Breaking through the atmosphere into its destiny is the most difficult thing the Shuttle will ever do. I promised to show you how to use your past to propel you to your destiny. Pretend you are the Space Shuttle. You’re designed and destined to be high above where you are now, but you’re stuck on earth. You’re on the launch pad, ready for something to get you moving. You are yearning for something better, knowing you don’t belong where you are now. You are unhappy that you can’t get to where you want to be but you don’t know how to reach the stars. As the Shuttle you have to use your fuel to blast off, but what is that fuel? Your past, your life experience, is like the fuel in the Space Shuttle. If the fuel is properly used it can propel you into orbit, your destiny. If the fuel is improperly used it becomes dangerous, explosive, and can destroy the Shuttle. If the fuel is unused it weighs you down and keeps you stuck on the launch pad. Life on the launch pad is an unfilled life. On the launch pad you’re never going anywhere, never changing, never doing anything differently, never improving, and never learning. All you are doing is wasting away and decaying while you ignore your destiny above you. I was being crippled by the mental load of shame over the consequences of my mistakes, what I lost, and broken relationships. There was no easy way from that, and I think every incarcerated and formerly incarcerated citizen faces that. I asked for, and received God’s help, which I continually need to get past the shame and things that would weigh me down if I let them. Ultimately, I had to choose to get over myself.

You must decide if you want to let your past weigh you down, destroy you, or propel you to your destiny among the stars. What will you decide? Are you willing to do what it takes to make it legitimately, so you can reach your destiny, the life you were meant to live? Once the Shuttle blasts off it cannot return to Earth until its mission is complete. A return mid-launch would be catastrophic for the Shuttle.

History gives us another example of the commitment required for success. Spanish explorer Hernan Cortez burned his ships when he reached the New World in the 1500s. You must have that level of commitment if you wish to reach your goal. Returning to the past should not be an option at all, no matter how hard it is to launch or break through to your destiny. Just as the Space Shuttle cannot return to earth mid-launch, and there were no ships for Cortez’ men to return to Spain, there should be no chance of you ever returning to a life of crime. Close that door forever! This book will show you ways to start your own business so you don’t have to return to or continue crime to make a living.