Quick Exit / Salida Rapida
Quick Exit / Salida Rapida
Policy Advocacy and Resources2024-06-03T08:55:59-04:00


Drawing on the extensive and diverse knowledge of our staff and other impacted communities with lived experience working in the sex trades, we engage in research and education to document and address the pressing issues and needs of sex workers.

Statement on Resources & Education

Over more than two decades, SWP has engaged in policy advocacy and research to document and address the pressing intersectional issues and needs of sex workers and trafficking survivors.  Our groundbreaking research has explored the narratives of sex workers and people who have experienced human trafficking. Read our statements, guides, memos, and reports below, or our statement about our research history by clicking here.

As leading national experts on the intersections of sex work criminalization and federal immigration law, we are committed to teaching our communities about our legal work and anti-oppressive, harm-reducing, and trauma–informed practices. We do this by speaking at organizations, colleges/universities, and in community settings to share our expertise, particularly through legal education workshops for trainings for service providers and community organizations.

To find out more about our previous Policy Advocacy work, please click here.

Policy Advocacy

SWP Amicus Brief Redacted

May 18th, 2023|

Statement Of Interest Of Amicus Curiae, The Sex Workers Project of the Urban Justice Center (SWP of UJC) is a national advocacy and policy organization. In collaboration with impacted communities, SWP of UJC seeks to destigmatize and decriminalize adult consensual sex work while preventing exploitation, including human trafficking, in the sex trades.

Press Release: SWP partners with the Federal Appellate Immigration Clinic at The University Of Maryland School Of Law, Files AMICUS BRIEF

May 18th, 2023|

New Orleans, LA May 16, 2023- The Sex Workers Project of the Urban Justice Center, with the University of Maryland School of Law’s Federal Appellate Immigration Clinic as counsel, has filed an amicus brief with the United States’ Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit asking the court to vacate the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) that solicitation of prostitution categorically involves moral turpitude.


Exercising Discretion- A handbook for Advocates and DA’s Navigating the Possibilities and Impacts of Non-prosecution Policies in the Context of Sex Work Criminalization

March 23rd, 2023|

This handbook, by the Global Health Justice Partnership of the Yale Law School and Yale School of Public Health, with the Sex Workers Project of the Urban Justice Center, seeks to support sex worker rights advocates, prosecutors, policymakers and other stakeholders in understanding, influencing, tracking, and assessing the operation and impact of non-prosecution policies that include charges related to sex work, as adopted by District Attorneys in the United States.

Community Guide – Possibilities and Impacts of Non-Prosecution Policies in the Context of Sex Work Criminalization

March 22nd, 2023|

This resource is a Community Guide to Exercising Discretion: A Handbook for Advocates and District Attorneys Navigating the Possibilities and Impacts of Non-Prosecution Policies in the Context of Sex Work Criminalization. The Community Guide provides an overview of the main takeaways of the Handbook.

Un-Meetable Promises: Rhetoric and Reality in New York City’s Human Trafficking Intervention Courts

September 1st, 2018|

A report by the Global Health Justice Partnership of the Yale Law School and Yale School of Public Health in collaboration with The Sex Workers Project of the Urban Justice Center | September 2018


Episode 1 of Beyond the Box:

Where Does Sex Meet Money? (ft. RJ Thompson-Rodriguez, former SWP Director)

What’s it like working in the sex industry, and who fights for the rights of those who work in the shadows of the legal economy?  RJ Thompson-Rodriguez, human rights advocate, lawyer, former sex worker, and former director of the UJC Sex Workers Project, talks with Doug Lasdon, the Founder and Executive Director of the Urban Justice Center, about the urgent issues facing sex workers today.s

The Sex Workers Project is a national organization that defends the human rights of sex workers by destigmatizing and decriminalizing people in the sex trades through free legal services, education, research, and policy advocacy. They aim to create a sexually liberated world where all workers have the autonomy and power to fully enjoy their human rights. Find out more at: swp.urbanjustice.org

Tune in below!

SWP Research Guide Webinar 2023

In August 2022, the Sex Workers Project of the Urban Justice Center (SWP) published a Research Guide to Conducting Ethical Research on the Sex Trades. During this 1-hour webinar, SWP Director of Research and Advocacy, Mariah Grant, and Research Consultant, Francesca Maviglia, overview the guide’s development and contents, provide guidance on its use, and answer webinar participant questions.

“Circle of Hope” Speaker Series: Safe Sex Workers Study Act

After the 2018 passage of FOSTA-SESTA, service providers around the country saw an increase in street-based sex work among their client populations.

Street-based sex work has been shown to be more inherently dangerous to sex workers. As such, sex workers and sex workers’ advocates have called for Congress to pass the 2022 Safe Sex Workers Study Act, which would study and analyze the health and safety needs of sex workers and survivors of sex trafficking and whether FOSTA-SESTA resulted in an increased risk for sex workers nationwide.

Listen to our panelists discuss the importance of this bill and the implications of FOSTA-SESTA.

Anti-Trafficking Education from Workers and Movements for Rights and Justice (11/11/2021)

The past decade has seen a dramatic increase in the sites for anti-trafficking education and the range of educators who shape how the public and institutions understand and respond to human trafficking. Thus, there is a need to analyse the formalised and informalised practices that facilitate teaching and learning about trafficking. At its worst, anti-trafficking education steeped in misinformation and myths fails to contextualise and complicate trafficking, which can lead to dehumanisation and violence. At its best, anti-trafficking education can encourage and inform efforts to create structural change, social justice, and individual empowerment. At this online event, educators from universities, non-government organisations, and worker associations discuss one central question: What would it take for anti-trafficking education to be in the service of human rights, economic justice, labour rights, and public health?

Featuring Mariah Grant, Director of Research and Advocacy for the Sex Workers Project of the Urban Justice Center

Sex work decriminalization dialogue prompted by Hochul (10/21/2021)

October 21, 2021 – In September, Gov. Kathy Hochul ignited the hopes of advocates trying to decriminalize sex work in New York, when she expressed a willingness to engage on the issue. To understand the current landscape of sex work in New York and what it would mean to take this underground part of the economy out of the penal code, we turned to Andy Bowen, associate director, government affairs of the Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center.

No Good Legislation Has To Sacrifice One Group of People to Protect Another: Psych & The City (8/2021)

Sarah speaks with Mariah Grant, a human rights and migration specialist with a focus on migrant and sex workers’ rights, freedom of movement, and labor exploitation. As the Research and Advocacy Director at the The Sex Workers Project of the Urban Justice Center she oversees Sex Workers Project advocacy efforts and development of original research. Mariah and Sarah discuss the initiatives of SWP, labor exploitation, and society’s need for real and honest conversations about the realities of sex and work in general. The way SWP likes to look at human trafficking is that for human trafficking to be properly addressed it’s really about protecting and defending the rights of workers – a conversation that regardless of the kind of work we do applies to us all.

The Oldest Profession (2020)

The Oldest Profession is a short animated documentary that explores the fight to decriminalize sex work in New York– as told through the lens of a policy maker, a human rights activist, and a sex worker. Featuring NY Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, Director of the Sex Workers Project at The Urban Justice Center RJ Thompson, and an anonymous sex worker.

International Whores’ Day NYC Digital Rally – Live Stream (6/2/20)

NYC and Philly sex working organizers speak on how they are surviving and caring for their communities. Protest, celebrate, support, and flood our feeds in your finest RED + BLACK threads with messages of love and solidarity with sex workers!

CariClub Webinar: Racial Injustice & Systemic Inequality  (6/25/20)

This webinar on systemic racism featured RJ Thompson and Gretchen Nealon from the Urban Justice Center, as well as staff from the NYCLU and Good Call NYC.


We welcome your questions and comments

Main Office

40 Rector Street, 9th Floor
New York, NY 10006

Telephone: 646-602-5617

Email: swp@urbanjustice.org


SWP does not receive walk in clients or inquiries. Please call our helpline at 646-602-5617