The Organization for Prostitution Survivors (OPS) was founded to address the harm of prostitution, and create opportunities for adult women in Seattle to seek supportive services and heal from the gender-based violence. OPS operates within three focus areas: Survivor Services, Community Education, and Men’s Accountability, with all aspects centered on the voices and leadership of survivors.
Co-Founder and survivor of 15 years of prostitution, Noel Gomez, recognized an acute lack of services for adult survivors of prostitution while working at YouthCare’s Bridge program and facilitating the Sex Industry Workers Class for the City of Seattle. This acute lack of services inspired Noel to create OPS. Noel collaborated with Peter Qualliotine and other survivors and allies in Seattle to establish OPS in the spring of 2012.
In the past year, several services for women were established, including weekly drop-in, survivor-led support group, and Art Workshops. Through peer mentoring and empowerment-based advocacy, OPS walks alongside survivors as they identify their needs. We create a non-judgmental environment where survivors are supported to engage in critical dialogue about their experiences, and begin to heal. OPS is a social service agency, and an agent of social change. Ending the harm of prostitution for future generations of women and girls requires changing the social and cultural norms that support it and all other types of violence against women.
OPS accompanies survivors of prostitution in creating and sustaining efforts to heal from and end this practice of gender-based violence.
OPS envisions a world of gender equality and mutuality, a world free from all forms of oppression and exploitation.
Prostitution is a social practice; it is a form of men’s violence against women, children and sometimes other men. Significant trauma can be experienced by those who are prostituted and that harm is hidden and compounded by the widely shared view that prostitution is a “victimless crime” and is “freely chosen” by people who are prostituted. OPS facilitates healing from the harm of prostitution by providing a supportive and non-judgmental environment for survivors to engage in critical dialogue about their experience of prostitution with others and by assisting them with resources and referrals to meet identified needs, goals and aspirations.
The reality of the harm of prostitution is viscerally understood by those who have been prostituted. Their very survival requires an intimate knowledge of the dynamics of men’s violence. OPS advocates for survivors to be the leaders of the movement to end prostitution. They know best what it means to be the targets of prostitution. That knowledge is essential in determining what strategies will be most effective in ending prostitution in the lives of individuals and on a societal level. For OPS, being accountable means that those who have not been prostituted must listen to the voices, be answerable to and accept leadership from those who have. Those associated with OPS who have not been prostituted act as allies in the struggle for justice.
OPS is a social service agency and an agent of social change.
OPS is 501(c)(3) all volunteer non-profit organization.
All donations are tax-deductible and eligible for matching gifts. Thank you.