Welcome to Jamaica SW Coalition (SWAJ)
Jamaica's SW Advocacy organization working for the Commuinty of Sex Workers
It all began in 2007, the late Dr. Robert Karr had a vision. This was for the empowerment of the marginalized groups in the Caribbean to be empowered to manage their own affairs. The mandate for a Sex work organization was bestowed on the sex work community in Jamaica. Coupled with allies and sex workers from across the country, a meeting was held at the Shade’s Night Club in Ocho Rios. This gave birth to the Sex Work Association of Jamaica (as it was initially known as). The organization’s main objective at the time was for the organization to address the gaps that existed within the national HIV response of Jamaica. As the years passes and the organization grew, it became imperative for a more comprehensive mandate. In 2011 the organization’s board and membership met with an objective to redefine the organization Structure and Mandate. With a new mission to advocate for and preserve the fundamental human and workers’ rights of sex workers in Jamaica whilst empowering sex workers through the creation and sustaining an enabling environment. It was important that the community of sex workers and the organization to move in accordance.
Jamaica SW Coalition, is managed by Sex Workers ( Active or retired) and only a sex worker can hold the post of President. through a democratic process the president and other executive members are elected. the Executive Body has the final say for the operations of the Organization.
The Advisory Board - consists of key selected organization who in the best interest of SWAJ would appoint an individual to sit on the Board. The Advisory Board meets every other month to look at the progresses of the organization and may give technical advice to the executive as to the approaches that would be better for SWAJ.
The executive and Management of JSWC sat and developed a Strategic Plan that would be used by the organization as a guide to address the issues and in seeking funding. The organization made a decision that the services that JSWC would offer would be different from the ones that are been offered by existing organizations. A Situational analysis was conducted, with the findings of this Analysis it was evident that the community required much more than has been provided by the national programmne (which other service providers subscribed to).
JSWC seeking to reach its ideal of creating a Jamaica where sex work is work and the dignity of all sex workers is restored by the policies that a responsible government puts in place in keeping with the Fundamental Principles of Human Rights JSWC, began its National Rights Education Programmne using the Peer to Peer methodology and the engagement of Law enforcement officers through rights literacy sessions.
JSWC is a National organization that operates in all areas of Jamaica. The key priority areas that JSWC works in are: Rights for sex workers, Advocacy for decriminalization of sex work and safe spaces for sex workers. JSWC relies mainly on international and Local donation to carry out the core work of the organization.
In 2012 JSWC created a training manual for Peer to Peer Education of sex work on human rights and what laws are available to them in the context of Jamaica. The same year the manual was used to train Field Officers, these were sex workers who were selected from across Jamaica. They were them employed to work in the field. JSWC developed a partnership with Jamaica AIDS Support for Life where the sex workers were referred to for stigma free HIV and STI testing. At the end of 2012 with the ending of the CVCC funding projects there were evaluations made on the programmes that JSWC had undertaken. Out of the findings the evaluator stated that the programmes that JSWC had developed was one of Civil Society’s Promising practicus.