SWOP is Australia’s largest and longest established community-based peer education sex worker organisation with a mission to provide New South Wales sex workers with the same access to health, safety, human rights, and workplace protections as all other Australian workers.
SWOP was established in 1983 as the Australia Prostitutes’ Collective and in 1990 as Sex Workers Outreach Project became the first sex worker organisation in the world to be funded by government.
SWOP is currently primarily funded by the NSW Ministry of Health to sustain the low rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) amongst sex workers; sustain the virtual elimination of HIV transmission within the sex industry; and reduce hepatitis infections in sex workers. We do this by bringing together sex workers, researchers and clinicians, government, and non-government organisations from a range of disciplines, and advocating for a collaborative, holistic approach to the health services provided to NSW sex workers.
SWOP provides direct services to sex workers across the state via peer-based outreach and a range of other direct support services. SWOP has the highest level of direct contact with sex workers of any agency, government, or non-government, in Australia. In a typical year SWOP interacts with over 5,500 NSW sex workers, makes over 550 visits to sex services premises throughout NSW including over 45 visits to regional and rural areas and distributes more than 275,000 pieces of safe sex equipment. We also in a typical year distribute up to 60,000 printed or downloaded information resources for sex workers and hold face to face and virtual training and information sessions both for sex workers and organisations who may have contact with sex workers.
NSW can be proud the virtual elimination of HIV transmission within the NSW sex industry, and the sustained the low rates of STIs amongst NSW sex workers. This success has been made possible by the continued funding by successive NSW governments of peer education programs, and by decriminalisation of the NSW sex industry, allowing sex workers access to vital services and support, regulatory bodies access to sex workers and sex worker workplaces, and sex workers to have access to those regulators.
Decriminalisation enables SWOP to access the majority of sex services premises throughout NSW.
At SWOP we value and respect:
- Self-determination for sex workers
- The diversity of the sex industry and its workforce
- Holistic approaches to health and wellbeing society
- Workplace rights and the recognition of sex work as work