The conflation of consensual sex work with abusive sex trafficking has been a big story in the news lately. Prohibitionists like the organization Ashton Kutcher raises money for artificially inflate “trafficking” statistics to alarming levels, without doing anything to actually help trafficked teens. Newsweek recently gave Melissa Farley a mouthpiece for her shoddy, biased “research” and insistence that all sex work is coerced. And don’t forget the “feminist” conference that recently denied a small group of SWs and allies their right to be heard and respected.
It’s because of events and misconceptions like these that the members of SWAAY seek to educate the general public about what, exactly, a sex worker is, and what a sex worker is not. Among other projects, they want to buy a billboard to announce these facts loud and clear to the world, and they’re currently soliciting donations to help them do so. They’ve posted a very convincing video supporting their case. In it, they argue that conflation of consensual sex work with sex trafficking is a disservice to both victims of trafficking and sex workers. It denies agency to the adults who engage in sex work willingly, while at the same time distorting the problem of sex trafficking in a most unhelpful way. Additionally, sex workers are often in a unique position to help uncover the baddies engaged in trafficking, but are often afraid to try for fear of becoming targets of law enforcement themselves. Watch and learn:
These harmful ideas aren’t going to change overnight, but increased visibility can’t hurt. After all, there are already quite a few anti sex work billboards out there…we might as well fight giant signs with logically superior giant signs.
To donate, go here.