The Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP) mourn the tragic passing of activist and global leader Shane Petzer, who died suddenly following a heart attack last week.
Shane was internationally renowned for his work advocating for the rights of sex workers, including campaigning for the decriminalisation of sex work, and for advocating for the universal treatment of people living with HIV.
He co-founded the Sex Work Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT) in Cape Town, South Africa in 1996. He was also instrumental in the early history of NSWP as he registered the organisation’s first constitution in Cape Town in 2002, where he established the first Secretariat and was our first Global Coordinator.
The global sex worker rights movement benefited greatly from Shane’s advocacy work and his role as a generous, kind and much respected leader in the movement. National coordinator of Sisonke and founding member of the National Sisonke Sex Worker Movement (Sisonke) Kholi Buthelezi described Shane as a warrior.
“He established an organisation that advocated for the rights and dignity of sex workers at a time when it was taboo to even talk about. He went the extra mile and played a big role in the journey of decriminalising sex work. More organisations have sprouted from his efforts.”
Rest in Power, Shane, you will be deeply missed.