Friday, March 8, 2019

Happy International Women's Day

[TRIGGER WARNING: WHOREPHOBIA, MENTION OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING]

Or, if you're on Twitter, because Twitter can't register apostrophes in its trending shit, Happy International Women!

I'm definitely sick today, which confirms that the rhinovirus is misogynistic.

Anyway, let's talk about some of the women we hear the least about. Sex workers. At what point are sex workers finally going to be allowed a platform, and when is effectively protecting them going to even get onto the radar of U.S. politicians?

According to Rolling Stone, possibly 2020.

Sex-Work Decriminalization Is Becoming an Issue For 2020

244 years late is better than never, I guess.

I want to stress that there is only one way to effectively protect sex workers from the dangers and massive amounts of harm they've been subjected to by being made illegal by the state. And that is full legalization of all sex work. That is the only way to protect full-service sex workers and the only path to destigmatization for the rest.

How do I know this? I listen to sex workers.

All the current 2020 Democratic presidential candidates voted in favor of FOSTA/SESTA, believing or stating that they believed it would combat human trafficking. They ignored pleas from actual or former sex workers who said that it would force them back onto the streets, where they are much more likely to be harmed or killed. After it was passed, reports began to come out of sex worker communities of full-service sex workers being assaulted, raped, killed, or disappearing.

For many, this was the last straw. Today, we're seeing an increasing number of public rallies to support sex workers and full sex work legalization.

Although the bill may have contributed to sex work being driven underground, Sage believes that it had the unintended effect of bringing sex workers’ rights to the mainstream. “I think that in the wake of FOSTA-SESTA, sex workers have mobilized and organized in ways that are unprecedented,” she said. “Such organizing is changing the national discourse around sex workers and pushing sex workers right onto the center stage. As a result, major publications are now printing stories about the impact of harmful legislation on sex work communities, and are also publishing pieces by sex worker writers themselves. This will make it very difficult for candidates to ignore addressing sex worker issues as they campaign.”

If you really want to be a supporter of women, one of the best things you can do today is to join sex worker advocacy groups. In fact, I came across this Rolling Stone article thanks to the SWOP Seattle Facebook page. There are all kinds of groups like this, and simply following can expose you to all kinds of information that you need in order to be an effective ally.

Sex workers are more likely than any other women to suffer violence. It's time to stop ignoring them, stop thinking we know what's best for them more than they do, and to fight for what they've been telling us will work for decades. Sex work is not human trafficking and human trafficking is not sex work. Legalize all forms of sex work now.

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