Membership and governance

The NSWP is a membership organisation and is committed to facilitating the voices of sex workers from both the Global North and South. Our organisational culture and rules ensure that we are led by sex workers and that sex workers are meaningfully involved at all levels within the NSWP. The requirement that NSWP members support ‘sex worker self -determination’ is interpreted as placing an obligation on members and the NSWP itself to take all practical steps to ensure that sex workers are meaningfully involved within member organisations and NSWP activities.

NSWP members are regional sex work networks and organisations from across the world.
To become a member of the NSWP an organisation must endorse the aims of NSWP and confirm their commitment to NSWP core values;

  • Acceptance of sex work as work
  • Opposition to all forms of criminalisation and other legal oppression of sex work (including sex workers, clients, third parties*, families, partners and friends)
  • Supporting self-organisation and self-determination of sex workers

*The term ‘third parties’ includes managers, brothel keepers, receptionists, maids, drivers, landlords, hotels who rent rooms to sex workers and anyone else who is seen as facilitating sex work.

Member organisations are from diverse cultures and they have different backgrounds and organisational histories. Most are sex worker groups, some are small NGOs, some are projects within government organisations or international NGOs. Almost all work on health issues. Some provide services, some focus on advocacy, some on mobilising to reduce vulnerability and address the human rights issues that affect the health and well-being of sex workers. Some member organisations work with all genders and some with only female, male or transgender sex workers. A number of member organisations work with the children of sex workers.

Organisations can apply to join NSWP as either a full member with voting rights (sex worker-led organisations only) or as a supporter without voting rights. 

Organisations/groups must meet at least two of the three following criteria to qualify as sex worker led organisations with voting rights, regardless of their self-definition.

  • Decision-making body: 50% or more of the decision-making body must be sex workers (former and current - with an aspiration to include current sex workers although not an absolute requirement). If not, what is the mechanism that ensures sex workers are in control of the organisation’s activities and advocacy?
  • Spokespeople: 50% or more of the spokespeople must be sex workers. If not what is the transparent mechanism for ensuring it is the voices of sex workers that are heard.
  • Staff: 33% or more of the staff are sex workers and have the same contracts and working conditions as other staff in the organisation – not only as peer educators paid honorariums or incentives. 

Note: For both safety and security NSWP does not identify which members are sex worker-led on our website, and members can choose not to be listed on the public website.

Application process:
Organisations wishing to apply for membership of the NSWP must complete a membership application and consent form, and send it to Organisations are asked to indicate on their application form which of the five geographic regions they wish to join and whether they are asking to join as a member with voting rights or as a supporter without voting rights.

Approval process:
When an application is received, it is forwarded to regional representatives for approval. If the organisation is known to the regional network then the application is approved immediately, however, if the organisation is not known then the Secretariat may ask for more information about its work and the meaningful participation of sex workers in the organisation itself.

File 1574NSWP Board meeting – May 2014 (Bangkok)

Pictured (L to R):
Back: Thierry Schaffauser (French interpreter), Aimee Furaha, Morgane Merteuil, Kaythi Win, Elya Durisin, John Mathenge (NSWP Vice President), Pye Jakobsson (NSWP President), Borce Bozinov, Karina Bravo, Dani Pons Palacin (Spanish interpreter).
Front: Ruth Morgan Thomas (Global Coordinator), Anastacia Ryan (Global HIV Policy Officer), Neil McCulloch (Senior Policy Officer).

Board of Directors:
The NSWP is governed by a Board of 11 Directors. Each region selects their nominated representatives througha transparent and accountable democratic regional process. All nominations will be through the regional email listservs.  The NSWP President is elected by voting members. The President and Board members are appointed for a period of up to two years; however, one regional board member rotates off the Board each year to ensure continuity. The Board elects from within its membership a Vice President and Executive Committee. The Executive Committee includes the President, the Vice President and three Board members (plus the Global Coordinator as a non-voting member).

President: Pye Jakobsson (Rose Alliance)
Vice President: John Mathenge (HOYMAS, Kenya)

Board Members
: Aimee Furaha (AHUSADEC Democratic Republic of Congo) & John Mathenge (HOYMAS, Kenya)
Asia Pacific: Kaythi Win (AMA, Myanmar) & Fatimah Abdullah (APNSW, Malaysia)
Europe: Borce Bozinov (STAR-STAR, Macedonia) & Morgane Merteuil (STRASS, France)
Latin America: Alejandra Gil (APROASE, Mexico) & Karina Bravo (Asociación Flor de Azale, Ecuador)
North America: Elya Durisin (Maggie's, Canada) & VACANT (Caribbean)

Executive Committee

Voting members: Pye Jakobsson, John Mathenge, Borce Bozinov, Elya Durisin, Kaythi Win.

Non-voting member: Ruth Morgan Thomas

PDF downloads:

Global Secretariat:
The NSWP has a secretariat in Edinburgh where it shares an office with SCOT-PEP, the local sex worker group.

The NSWP Global Secretariat consists of staff and consultants worldwide who are employed to implement the NSWP strategic plan:

  • Global Coordinator: Ruth Morgan Thomas (UK) – responsible for promoting and managing the network activities and working with the Board of Directors to develop organisational policies, protocols and tools.
  • Senior Policy Officer: Neil McCulloch (UK)–responsible for collating regional reports and briefing papers into global advocacy tools.
  • Global Policy Officer: Anastacia Ryan (UK) - responsible for consulting with members and producing advocacy tools for members, including consensus statements and briefing papers. 
  • Communications Officer: Anelda Grové (UK) – responsible for developing and implementing the NSWP communication strategy, maintaining and updating the NSWP website and social media platforms, assisting in the drafting of updates, briefing papers and reports and supporting and managing membership.
  • Office Manager: Gillian Galbraith (UK) – is responsible for the development and implementation of administrative, office and financial management systems.
  • Research for Sex Work 2014 Editor – Heather Walker (Australia) 

In addition, task consultants are recruited as required to assist with tasks such as coordinating for international conferences, editing Research for Sex Work, undertaking community consultations and research, and facilitating training and workshops, as well as consultants who provide on-going services around translation, IT support, graphic design and copy editing.

NSWP operates in 5 global languages (including English) with the support of our Community Translation Teams:

  • Chinese: Mu Lin
  • French: David Boudon (translation) & Luca Stevenson (proofing)
  • Russian: SWAN Foundation for the Human Rights of Sex Workers
  • Spanish: Isabel Holgado (translation) & Montserrat Neira Rodriguez (proofing

Regional Correspondents:

NSWP employs regional correspondents who are either based in or have extensive knowledge and connections within the sex workers' rights movement in the five regions the NSWP has members. Regional correspondents work on three projects all with the objective of amplifying the voices of sex workers and sex worker rights organisations. The three projects include ; news stories, profiles of sex worker leaders and NSWP member organisations, and writing up the history of the sex worker rights movement and the NSWP. 

  • Africa: Modeste MAMBO AMISI (Democratic Republic of the Congo), Peninah Mwangi (Kenya), Ntokozo Yingwana (South Africa) 
  • Asia Pacific: Nicolette Burrows (Thailand) 
  • Europe: Luca Stevenson (UK), Thierry Schaffauser (France) 
  • Latin America: Dennis van Wanrooij (Belgium), Friederike Strack (Germany)
  • North America & Caribbean: Karen Gardiner (USA) 

NSWP wishes to thank the following for their financial support:

  • Bridging the Gaps (Aids Fonds)
  • Open Society Foundation – Sexual Health And Rights Program
  • Robert Carr Fund for civil society networks
  • Stepping Up Stepping Out II (Aids Fonds)
  • Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Netherlands)
  • International AIDS Society
  • IPPF
  • Mama Cash
  • WHO