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Welcome Julie Swede: The new interim Director of SPACE

09 January 2023

After more than a decade of outstanding service to SPACE International, its founder, Rachel Moran, is stepping down as Executive Director. As we bid farewell to Rachel and thank her for her extraordinary contributions, we welcome Julie Swede who will head SPACE Intl as Interim Director as of January 9th, 2023.

Julie is a British sex trade survivor leader who has been involved in groundbreaking campaigns, including on the expungement of prostitution-related convictions in the UK. With other survivors, she filed an application to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), challenging UK's laws in relation to the criminalisation of women in street prostitution and the retention of those criminal records for 100 years.

Below is a message from Rachel and a short video statement from Julie announcing her appointment as Interim Director of SPACE Intl.

Please join us in welcoming Julie as she begins to lead this formidable and effective global organization and network of survivor leaders dedicated to the abolition of prostitution.

The Board of Directors
SPACE Intl.

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Get in touch with Julie Swede on info@spaceintl.org

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"I am really pleased to welcome Julie Swede to the role of Interim Director of SPACE International. After founding the organisation and giving it over ten years, it’s time for me to move over and let some fresh energy take the group into its next phase. Julie has worked locally and nationally for over five years and is an emerging international abolitionist voice. She’s a warm and compassionate woman; personable, relatable and perfect for the job. I trust her implicitly and wish her, and all my SPACE sisters, the very best for the future."

— Rachel Moran

  • "My body, mind, and spirit survived so many things for so many years. The sexual exploitation and violence I endured was almost like something that happened to someone else. If I had told myself the truth about what was being done to me, my psyche would have splintered into a million pieces."
    - Autumn Burris, Denver, USA
  • "What I know today is that women are victimised by the system of prostitution by innumerable perpetrators, and at the same time victimised by a society which is not only allowing but encouraging prostitution by accepting it as a 'job like any other'. We are victims of a society blind in one eye, advancing the wealth of a privileged few over the suffering of an incalculable number of women and children."
    - Marie Merklinger, Stuttgart, Germany
  • "It might surprise you, but it can happen to anyone. No you’re not exempt. I wasn’t."
    - Marian Hatcher, Chicago, USA
  • "After experiencing prostitution in most of its forms, from escorting to the streets, each time my body was bought, whether in a car or in a 5-star hotel, the degradation and shame I felt was the same. The violence and abuse was the same. I don’t believe we should live in a society where women’s bodies are for sale and prostituted promoted as 'sex work."
    - Julie Swede, Bristol, UK
  • "Many people ask me, how did I get into prostitution, was I “trafficked” or was I a willing participant? What many don’t understand is - however we entered - what the act of prostitution does to us; how it slowly strips us of any semblance of ourselves, as we try to sell part of our bodies, while keeping our soul intact. Prostitution preys on the most vulnerable; it takes us places we never intended to go, all driven by those who feel entitled to pay for our bodies. "
    - Cherie Jimenez, Boston, USA
  • "In many cases we talk about trafficking and we differentiate it from prostitution; there is a linguistic battle around this erroneous distiction. But there is a reality that no one can hide: men who pay for sex do not recognise any difference in this regard. They do not care to know anything about the woman for whom they pay, for them they are all "whores'' - and they justify their violations with that charge, and they use it to strip us of our rights. Both victims of prostitution and victims of trafficking are raped by the same men who pay for sex."
    - Alika Kinan, Cordoba, Argentina
  • "For me, sexual abuse was a direct route into prostitution. The same kind of destructive abuse chosen by myself, because I knew this feeling and recognised myself in this situation, even though the situation traumatised me over and over again."
    - Tanja Rahm, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • "When I look back now I see that prostitutuion lured and consumed those of us who were already marginalised in society. If you were poor, if you were disadvantaged, if you had come from a broken home or had vulnerabilities connected to prior cycles of abuse, especially sexual abuse, prostitution was there waiting for you. Prostitution is a trap, and it’s not a coincidence that all over the world it ensnares those who are already struggling to survive."
    - Rachel Moran, Dublin, Ireland
  • "Just because dancing (stripping) is legal does not mean it’s not violence against women - Stripping and prostitution go hand in hand."
    - Vednita Carter, St Paul, USA
  • "Prostitution is the systematic and institutionalized form of Non State Torture and violence primarily against women and children. In it's extreme, it is a form of femicide involving homicide, rape, torture, pornography, violent assaults and the systematic targeting of marginalized persons, but leaves no stone unturned as all societies, and all persons are impacted by the organized crime that prostitution is."
    - Jeanette Westbrook, Kentucky USA
  • "I was able to exit prostitution and rebuild my life, and with that my education became a tool. I was recognized for my tenacity and my strength and have been able now to be an asset to my community and to my people."
    - Bridget Perrier, Toronto, Canada
  • "Remembering friend’s I have lost along the way, and taking a glance at all the violence, rape and inhumane activities, I just can’t help but recognize my luck to alive today."
    - Mickey Meji, Cape Town, South Africa
  • "When New Zealand passed full decriminalisation, things changed in unexpected ways and I came to understand that the myths of legal protection, autonomy, increased choice and greater community acceptance were unfounded.. The myth of health being better was proved false in less than 6 months of the law reform. Women were kissing and risking herpes, doing oral sex without condoms with the risk of throat warts, doing rougher and riskier practices just to get the jobs.. I dealt with punters changing expectations. I had no choice but to fight against this model ever spreading to another country."
    - Sabrinna Valisce, Melbourne, Australia
Read more testimonials
"Just because dancing (stripping) is legal does not mean it’s not violence against women - Stripping and prostitution go hand in hand."
- Vednita Carter, St Paul, USA
Read more testimonials