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

Consider joining a SWOP Behind Bars Study conducted by community members!

SWOP Behind Bars organized in 2016 to extend the mission to end violence and stigma to connect with current and formerly incarcerated sex workers. Since that time, SWOP Behind Bars has supported efforts to decriminalize adult consensual sex work; allied with those fighting to end cash bail; provided thousands of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated sex workers with substantive support in the form of information, supplies, and community; helped to empower incarcerated and formerly incarcerated sex workers as they become leaders in the sex workers right movement; and offered evidence-based research in support of policy changes regarding sex workers.

Central to SWOP Behind Bar’s mission is their effort to amplify the voices of sex workers and trafficking victims, especially in forums in which policy discussions and solutions are considered. Towards that goal, they are seeking input from sex workers and victims of trafficking as SWOP Behind Bars embarks on a new research study intended to explore prostitution and trafficking legislation and their effects on those who were convicted of these crimes. We will use the information to educate the public so that we can improve existing prostitution and trafficking legislation and policy.” Contrary to easily applied assumptions, these identities are frequently conflated or misapplied and, in reality, can also be fluid over time. Victims of trafficking are convicted of crimes, adult consensual sex workers are labeled victims, and one identity can become the other and vice versa. This reality has contributed to a current domestic policy that rarely (if ever) reflects the complex intersection between these identities and as such fails both victims and adult consensual sex workers.

Clearly a new approach is needed if we want to effectively address the underlying causes of trafficking and offer solutions for ending it while also supporting sex workers’ rights. In order to offer evidence-based recommendations about consensual sex work and trafficking policies, we must look to the lived experience of consensual sex workers and trafficking victims. This research project (The Stories We Deny in Mainstream Understandings of Prostitution and Trafficking in the Sex Industry) aims to do just that by “gaining knowledge from the individuals most affected and knowledgeable about the overlaps between choice and exploitation and to use that information to inform policy recommendations and legislation.”

Funded by the Proteus Fund in cooperation with the University of South Florida and directed by SWOP Behind Bars Co-Founder and Co-Director Dr. Jill McCracken, SWOP Behind Bars currently is seeking participants for this one-of-a-kind research study. Specifically, SWOP Behind Bars is looking for individuals who have been convicted of prostitution/trafficking (or prostitution/trafficking-related charges), traded erotic or sexual services, and/or been a victim of sex trafficking. Grounded in an approach that prioritizes the safety and wellness of participants, all the collected material will remain confidential: no names or identifying information will be used or shared. Volunteers will also have the right to change or remove any information they do not want shared with the public or general public. An easily accessible online survey is the first step for those living and working in the United States who are interested in participating. Not everyone who completes the survey will be chosen but those who do meet the criteria will be invited to participate in a 30-minute paid ($30.00) telephone interview. Then, based on those short interviews, a small number of people will be chosen to participate in a longer, more in-depth paid ($150.00) online interview or focus group. Once collected, the information will be used to educate the public and offer evidence toward efforts to improve existing legislation and policy with the ultimate goal of better serving people who trade erotic or sexual services as well as those who experience sexual exploitation.

Throughout the process, SWOP Behind Bars will prioritize community-input and collaboration because amplifying the voices of sex workers and trafficking victims is vital to creating effective policy changes. Nevertheless, that prioritization is not meant to imply that anyone should feel pressured to volunteer. Participating is entirely up to each individual and volunteers can withdraw at any time without penalty or loss of entitled benefits.  But if you have been convicted of prostitution/trafficking (or prostitution/trafficking-related charges), traded erotic or sexual services, and/or been a victim of sex trafficking and you are interested in contributing a voice to the ongoing discussion regarding consensual sex work and trafficking, then you can the initial short survey in English at https://tinyurl.com/ComplexRightsandWrongs You can also access this survey in Spanish/Espanol, Mandarin/中國人, or Vietnamese/Tiếng Việt.

If you have trouble with the survey, have questions, or would like more information, please contact jillmccracken@protonmail.com directly. To learn more about the study, please click on one of the links below: 


Spanish / Espanol

Mandarin / 中國人

Vietnamese / Tiếng Việt