Robyn Few, co-founder of Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP), died this Thursday from cancer. Few had been living with the illness for several years and continued to travel the world to spread awareness for sex worker’s rights until her untimely death. A woman of unabashed determination to bring justice to sex workers, Few worked tirelessly for the simplest of human rights and was fundamental in commencing December 17th as International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers.
Few came out as a queer sex worker after enduring undue harassment from law enforcement. She would soon devote the rest of her life to fighting for the legalization of safe and consensual prostitution, leading to the formation of SWOP. SWOP’s principles assert that the decriminalization of prostitution is imperative to prevent violence against sex workers and in turn against victims of sex trafficking and rape as well. At its core, SWOP is an anti-violence organization based on disengaging rape and trafficking from the vocation of adult consensual sex workers. The outlook of SWOP is that the persecution of consenting sex workers takes away from the pursuit of real criminals involved in trafficking and other violent crimes.
Few’s absence will be felt by her supporters and those who worked with her but her efforts as an effective lobbyist for basic human rights will survive her. Through her vision, SWOP is now the largest organization for sex workers equal rights in the nation and has chapters all over the country.
Her memorable chant remains, “One-Two-Three-Four - We are queer and we are whores! Five-Six-Seven-Eight - we get paid to masturbate!”
Visit www.swopusa.org to learn more about Robyn Few’s legacy and sex workers’ struggle for equality and legitimacy.