Debra Boyer, PhD
Debra is a Cultural Anthropologist who has devoted most of her career to understanding the cultural norms related to systematic violence against women and children. She has developed programs and policies leading to increased services and protection for commercially sexually exploited children and adults. Dr. Boyer has over 25 years’ experience as the Principal Investigator of studies on runaway and homeless youth, and prostituted youth and adults. She has conducted studies on the impact of abuse on adolescent pregnancy and women’s reproductive health and has completed several studies using ethnographic methods to inform policy and practice including studies on homeless street populations. She is the author of Who Pays the Price: An Assessment of Youth Involvement in Prostitution in Seattle and a co-founder of the Committee for Children, which develops and supports implementation of abuse prevention and social and emotional learning curricula. These curricula are implemented in 25,000 school districts in the United States and in twenty-six countries. Dr. Boyer is an Affiliate Assistant Professor in the Department of Gender, Women and Sexuality at the University of Washington. She joined the Organization for Prostitution Survivors as an organizational consultant in April 2013 and was named the Executive Director in February 2014.
Advocacy Services Staff
Allison Jurkovich, MSW
Director of CSE Advocacy Services, 206-931-8155
Allison has been a member of the gender-based violence community for over 8 years and now serves as the Director of CSE Survivor Services at OPS. She has previously worked in community engagement and as an advocate in the domestic violence community and is passionate about working with those marginalized by gender-based violence and oppression. In her role as an ally, Allison is motivated by the experiences and unique strengths of the survivors we serve and OPS’ mission to accompany survivors on their journey to safe and stable futures. In her free time, Allison enjoys spending time with family and friends, crafting and exploring all her home in the Pacific Northwest has to offer.
Martha Linehan CIMT, CDP
Chemical Dependency Counselling, IMT Therapist & Arts Development, 206-931-4805
Martha is a chemical dependency professional, certified Integrated Movement Therapist, and poet. She began to work as a counselor with homeless and foster care youth in Seattle in the late 1990’s. In 2003, she and her sister founded Word UP SHOT, a photography and poetry project for teenage girls in treatment. In 2010, she adapted the focus and scope of the project to specifically address the needs of young women exiting the life of prostitution. Martha runs OPS’ weekly art workshop, provides advocacy and addiction recovery support to OPS participants and teaches therapeutic yoga.
Case Management, 206-850-8252
Kyra is a survivor of commercial sexual exploitation and after seven years of being exploited, has been out of the life since 2012. Passionate about serving the community around her, she has volunteered since childhood. Kyra has served in Americorps and has been working with at-risk populations for five years. A current student at a local college, Kyra is pursuing a career as a counselor. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with family, her two cats, and consuming pizza.
For nearly ten years Shanell has served women’s organizations as an employee, volunteer and board member, where she has been an advocate for racial equity, reproductive justice, food justice, affordable housing and women’s safe-spaces and self-defence. Shanell understands that true gender equality can only be achieved through the liberation of all girls and women. Shanell acknowledges how the intersections of racism, homophobia, domestic/intimate partner violence, sexual violence, ableism, unequal access to quality education, restricted access to family planning resources and socio-economic barriers disproportionately affect girls and women of color, making it incredibly difficult to break the cycle of poverty, exploitation and violence. Through organizing with peers within her community, she continues to advocate against the victimization and marginalization of girls and women.
Karen has worked on, and managed, political and advocacy campaigns for over 20 years. Her work focuses on local candidate and issue campaigns; organizational and individual fundraising and issue management; as well as public relations, public affairs and advocacy. Her consultancy, Besserman Associates, worked on the State of Washington’s campaign to build and construct Boeing’s new Dreamliner as well as with the Women’s Bioethics Project to launch a national book club program that included the creation of a pod-cast with a best-selling author and ethicist, and with the World Association for Children and Parents (WACAP) to develop a program in conjunction with a local news program to feature adoptable kids each week, on the air, with the goal of finding them adoptive families. Karen worked with Committee for Children, to build an aggressive advocacy program. Karen’s work led to the passage of legislation in Olympia and in the US House and Senate. She organized two Congressional briefings on school safety and worked to add social emotional learning to basic education standards in both WA and MA. Karen has directly lobbied legislators at the state and federal level and has organized advocacy days for others to do so as well. She has presented on the legislative process to colleagues and partners in the field. Karen is a graduate Tulane University and Kent State University. She is also a graduate of the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Tomorrow Program and a former board member of Aradia Women’s Health Clinic and sits on the board of the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement
Co-Founder & Director of Men’s Accountability
Peter became actively engaged with this issue in the early 1990′s as a volunteer for the Portland, Oregon based Council for Prostitution Alternatives. In 1994 he founded the Sexual Exploitation Education Project (SEEP), an innovative non-profit organization with the mission of promoting men’s accountability in stopping violence against women and children. As program coordinator of SEEP, Peter collaborated with the staff of the Portland Women’s Crisis Line in developing an innovative prevention curriculum for middle and high school students on the issues of sexual harassment; acquaintance and date rape; dating and domestic violence and commercial sexual exploitation. Peter recruited and trained male volunteers to co-present the curriculum to 4,000 students per year in schools throughout Multnomah County alongside women from the Crisis Line. In 1995, SEEP started one of the first intervention programs in the nation for buyers of commercial sex. Peter designed the curriculum and served as lead facilitator for this ground breaking “john school”, an innovative 17-hour experiential education workshop which addressed the demand side of the prostitution problem through the lens of men’s accountability. In 2012 Peter left his position as Commercial Sexual Exploitation (CSE) training coordinator for YouthCare’s Bridge Program in Seattle to start OPS. Peter is co-author of the report “Comparing Sex Buyers with Men Who Don’t Buy Sex” for the San Francisco based non-profit organization, Prostitution Research & Education (PRE).