If you want to be an ally to sex workers and help us stay safe, please sign this and reblog.
And, please, start talking about sex work with people around you. Just go for it. Ask them what they think, tell them about human rights, police brutality, migration and racism and the way t all plays out costing sex workers lives.
Concern: Conflation of trafficking and prostitution:
There is no evidence that “most” prostitutes have been trafficked. End demand policies and the language in this current bill deny the reality that there is a broad constellation of work arrangements, power relations, and personal experiences among participants in sexual commerce.
Conflating “patronizing a prostitute” with “sexual exploitation” and “sex trafficking” denies the existence and rights of adult consensual sex workers. The new language in the above bills codifies the belief and moral judgment that patronizing a prostitute is inherently exploitative, which creates confusion about what sexual exploitation actually is, and hinders our ability to discern and address actual exploitation. It also supports government regulation in the sexual choices of consensual adults.
This conflation also belies a seemingly willful ignorance of the distinction between trafficking and smuggling – the consensual migration of an individual with third party assistance. Many of those who migrate to participate in the sex industry are responding to factors such as the lack of economic opportunities in their home countries or the desire to provide a better life for family members, rather than the coercion from trafficker.
Trafficking is defined by “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of persons by means such as force, fraud, coercion or deception for the purpose of sexual exploitation.”
With the City of Seattle’s recent outrageous renaming “Patronizing a Prostitute” to be “Sexual Exploitation”, you can see how quickly patronizing a prostitute (“Sexual Exploitation”) can now easily become defined as trafficking. Well meaning and poorly written laws such as these can have disasterous and unintended consequences.
Trafficking that involves underage persons or adults subjected to force, fraud, or coercion is a serious violation of human rights; but sex work by adults who are choosing to sell sexual services and which does not include these elements is not inherently exploitative, and it is not trafficking.
International authorities and UN agencies have consistently criticized approaches that treat all sex work as trafficking, concluding that the conflation of sex work and trafficking is counterproductive in practice.