Tagged: sex work activism

$pread the Love! in two weeks!

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Upcoming events and reminders

SWOP meeting today at 4. Sorry for the late notice, Charlotte has already scolded me about that.
In general SWOP meetings will be the first Sundays of the month, meeting locations tbd.

PAPA [portland adult performers’ alliance] meeting 3/29, 4pm.
In general meetings will be the THIRD Sunday of the month and also on undecided Wednesdays, for those who can’t make Sunday brunches.

Sex Workers Rights and Stigma Panel for Sexual Assault Awareness Month 4/22 4-5:30pm
Listen to a variety of workers in different areas of the industry talk about the way that stigma, lack of access to legal rights, and a placement on a variety of intersecting margins interacts with boundaries, sexual harassment, and assault; options and diverse ways to fight against stigma for the better protection and freedom of swers and everyone else!

Submissions for the zine due 5/14:
The theme for summer issue is IDENTITY and closeting: in the closet, out of the closet, anxious about being outed, the knowledge that you’re the only sex worker in the room as someone makes cracks about sex workers, &c. Have you lost something by being outed? Was being outed awesome? Dealing with identity and stigma.

Submissions for the art show also due 5/14!
Art of any medium: film, words, sculpture, paintings, sketches, comics, ducttape, welcomed and loved! We have some great artists already, PLEASE submit and share your art! ESPECIALLY desirous of art by sex workers of colour and male/nb/trans sex workers, I know the sex workers rights movement up here is a white cis ladyfest but I very much want to include other voices!

The art show is now being hosted by Pivot, for which we are eternally grateful! It will also be a partial benefit for Pivot, with some of the profit on a varying basis (depending on artist comfort level) going to Pivot.
Opening party June 4th: wine, snacks, performances, free HIV testing, and art!

There will also be a brunch somewhere around the sex workers panel in April to welcome some visiting sex workers, date tba.

Please share, submit, reblog, and come to events and meetings!

Sex-Trafficking Victims Hurt Most by Senator’s Crusade Against Classified Ads – Reason.com

Sex-Trafficking Victims Hurt Most by Senator’s Crusade Against Classified Ads – Reason.com

Noah Berlatsky continues to be a real ally here, giving space to and amplifying the voices of actual sex workers and their research.
As always, embedded links that you really need to read if you’re interested in sex work activism/being an ally to sex workers, at the link! ESPECIALLY read Tara’s work. And remember that Portland is a part of the latest suits agains backpage, while Seattle is just one of several cities currently experimenting with implementing End Demand. Talk to your friends and family, write letters to the editor and op-eds, I can help you with the latter and with sources if you need. Please don’t stand silently by and watch as it happens.

Terra Burns, the author of a report on sex work in Alaska, says that closing outlets like Backpage.com puts women more at risk. “I don’t think that getting rid of advertising mediums is helpful to anybody,” Burns says. “It’s harmful to people who are doing sex work at the most survival level, who can’t afford more expensive advertising venues and are forced out on the street. And it’s harmful for sex trafficking victims who are also potentially forced out onto the street.”“Those are the people who are affected the most by this kind of thing,” Burns added. “It’s not some evil sex trafficker, because he … can deal with changes in the market.”

Backpage is currently being sued by some trafficking victims for contributing to their exploitation. Yet many law enforcement officials admit, reluctantly, that Backpage is actually very helpful in their work catching sex traffickers. Clearwater, Florida, Police Chief Anthony Holloway, for example, declared that Backpage “needs to be shut down” while contradictorily acknowledging that “it’s a good investigative tool for us right now for trafficking.” He also admitted that, if the site were shut down, advertisers would simply move to other, less regulated venues.

Mistress Matisse, a Seattle dominatrix and sex-worker rights advocate, agrees that Kirk’s bill would neither stop traffickers nor help victims. “To the extent that they actually exist, actual traffickers will just advertise elsewhere, or put people on the street,” Matisse says. “And people just trying to get money for food and shelter will have to resort to even more dangerous means as well.” Matisse argues that “if Kirk really wants to help people, he should be fighting for more anti-poverty programs and homeless shelters, especially teenage homeless programs.”

Burns suggests that lawmakers look at “coercion by police officers” and discrimination in accessing public services. “In my survey a lot of [sex workers] were discriminated against in accessing shelter,” she said, “but of the people who were sex trafficking victims, 100 percent of them were denied emergency shelter.”

The survey didn’t provide detailed information about why victims had trouble with the shelters, but some respondents did tell Burns that they were turned away because of where they met the people they were seeking shelter from (presumably, while selling sexual services). Burns comments, “when someone’s a sex-trafficking victim and they’re seeking emergency shelter, and you deny them that shelter, you’re most likely causing them to continue to be sex trafficked.”

It’s notable that both Burns and Matisse offer solutions aimed at empowering victims, rather than a villain to scapegoat. If you want to help marginalized people, you need to stop marginalizing them, not talk of rescue while driving victims—and their abusers—further underground.

Decent treatment for stigmatized populations does’t fit easily into a heroic narrative, however. So instead, Kirk bravely goes after Backpage. It’s almost like the real crime here is not trafficking, but visibility. Sex workers who can’t advertise are sex workers you can’t see—which makes it easier to portray them all as victims in need of heroes.

Oregon politicians take note.

So proud of my friends today! on best practises in social work

Questionable Practices: Arresting people “for their own good” violates social work ethics | bestpracticespolicy.org

Stephanie Wahab and Meg Panichelli provide a succinct analysis of the ethical considerations associated with diversion programs that arrest people in the sex trade in order to force them to accept services. Their commentary which appears in a 2013 edition of AFFILIA, a peer reviewed social work journal addressing the concerns of social workers and their clients from a feminist point of view, challenges the “assumption that arresting (or participating in the arrest of) people ‘for their own good’ constitutes good or ethical social work practice.” The authors conclude that, “targeting people for arrest under the guise of helping them violates numerous ethical standards as well as the humanity of people engaged in the sex industry” and express concerns that such an approach “constitutes an act of structural violence against individuals who already frequently report negative, discriminatory, and often violent encounters with law enforcement including people with precarious migratory or citizenship status, poor, youth, transgender, and people of color.”

The example that sparked the writing of the AFFILIA editorial isProject ROSE, a program in which social workers from Arizona State University  School of Social Work and some service providers collaborate with city wide raids orchestrated by the Phoenix Police Department.Project ROSE is found to violate ethical standards described in the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics, the Council on Social Work Education Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards, and the International Federation of Social Work Ethical Principles. Informed consent–an essential element of social work practice and the standard in many other professions–is violated because the services provided rely on recruitment via ”massive police (in this case 125 officers) sting operations.” The authors explain that, ‘if targeted sex workers (and people profiled as sex workers) reject the ‘offer’ to enter the diversion program and/or if they fail to successfully complete a diversion program… they face criminal prosecution.”

Wahab and Panichelli provide the reader with clear guidance on how to avoid unethical practice from the perspectives of social workers. “Whether you believe that sex work = sex trafficking or whether you believe that there is no universal sex work experience and that sex workers can make their own decisions about what they need and when they need it,” they write. “Schools of Social Work and social work in general should not be in the business of arresting people for their own good.”

The full text for the commentary is available at: Ethical and Human Rights Issues in Coercive Interventions With Sex Workers Stéphanie Wahab and Meg Panichelli, Affilia 2013 28: 344.

So proud to know Meg!!!  And Adrienne who is working with her on support for student sex workers.

swer stigma

Denial of Justice: Sex Workers Fight Against Discrimination in Aid for Rape Victims [UPDATE] | 

ok since I’m fucking up and taking the night off work again, let me throw this out there.

I’ve been thinking more and more about how I can help sex workers, and myself.  Like what can I do that would fill a need?

When I was 17—and this is something I want to write about, possibly as a preface to the oral history that’s on hold right now—I started volunteering for Danzine.  I always, always knew I wanted to be a sex worker.  I grew up poor and that feeling of desperation never goes away, I don’t think.  Idk if it’s gone away for any of you let me know, certainly my refusal to work is costing me financial and mental security.

But Danzine was a grassroots organization by and for sex workers.  They started one of the first needle exchanges in Portland after Outside In’s (where I also volunteered for a while), they did community outreach, and had a phone tree to collect bad date info and put it into a list that they spread around for workers to use, and most of all they had a monthly (then bimonthly, then quarterly) magazine where they spread health information and workers rights info and how to work abroad, &c&c&c.

That was the early 00s tho and it’s a different climate now.  It’s different here. We tried to start a union once at the russian club and it went terribly, it fell apart worse than Danzine did (altho danzine had a much stronger and longer run).

I don’t know how to help us and this is one of the only things I feel super passionate about. Sex work.  The history of sex work, labour rights, our lives, our stories, our rights.

yesterday adrienne suggested social work school or sociology.  Sarah has that article on how there’s enough clueless academics studying sex work, there should be more sex workers, but if there’s one thing I know it’s that being out is costly. I was a strong minded teenager with no nuance so I’ve forced myself to be out, no takebacks, and I’ve spent the past few years trying to remove what traces I can.

Namibia: Sex Workers Want More Organisations

allAfrica.com: Namibia: Sex Workers Want More Organisations