Tag: Sex Work

Amnesty International, CATW, a bunch of celebrities, and decriminalization

[Content note: sex trafficking and sexual abuse]

Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Lena Dunham, Emily Blunt, and numerous other celebrities, along with former sex workers and victims of sex trafficking and women’s rights advocates, have signed a letter from the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) criticizing a policy currently under discussion within Amnesty International. The policy, which Amnesty plans to introduce at a meeting in Dublin in August, promotes decriminalization of sex work to protect sex workers’ rights, health, and safety.

Centering Sex Worker Voices

Unsurprisingly, the two recent threads on sex work are… active. There’s a lot of push-back (especially to mine) in the comments, so I want to address a few things. First, I stand by what I wrote in the post. But second, I did an inadequate job of focusing on the more important issue: Making life safer, here and now, for sex workers.

Supporting Sex Workers’ Rights, Opposing the Buying of Sex

There are a few topics that still never fail to divide feminist activists, and sex work is one of them — which is why this post is so contentious right now. I love our regular guest bloggers Laurie and Debbie, and I posted that piece myself — but I don’t agree with all of it. I am an anti-sex-trafficking feminist. I think sex work is incredibly problematic. And I also support the rights of sex workers. I think you can do all those things at once.

The War on Sex Workers

Melissa Gira Grant has an excellent article in Reason this week, laying out exactly what’s wrong with the war on “sex trafficking,” which is conducted largely by women who identify as feminists, and how and why it is really a war on sex workers. The last paragraph of the article is especially powerful:

An Invitation for Sex Worker Stories

Is up at Greta Christina’s place. The thread is for sex workers only to share their experiences, so if you’ve done sex work, head over there. The comment section is an interesting and enlightening read, and showcases a variety of experiences. It’s also worth reading with the perspective that, while the internet is a large and diverse place, there are certain privileges inherent in having internet access, being literate, writing in English, being a part of online “free thought” communities, etc etc. So while the experiences documented are indeed diverse, there are certainly lots of voices that aren’t in that conversation (and I’ll refer everyone back to Audacia Ray for further consideration).

The many types of prostitutes in ancient Rome

UPDATE: After posting this guest entry, it was brought to my attention that the blog from which it is cross-posted contains material that is racist, misogynist, fat-shaming and transphobic. Had I known that history, I would not have allowed this post to be published on Feministe. We will not be publishing work from this author again. And going forward, when guest posts are offered, I will do more homework into a blogger’s background and past posts, instead of just generally perusing their blog for anything that immediately stands out. The Feministe team is also discussing ways to prevent this from happening in the future. I apologize that a piece from such a problematic author was posted in this space. -Jill

What is a representative sex worker?

This is a guest post by Wendy Lyon.

This is a cliché that anyone who advocates for sex workers’ rights will be familiar with. Faced with a sex worker who defies the abolitionist stereotype of a person physically or economically coerced into prostitution, who thinks their job is ok and isn’t desperate to leave it (but could if s/he wanted to), and who argues that the solution to the negative aspects of sex work is decriminalisation and enforceable rights, the inevitable response is: You’re not representative. Why should the law be made for you?