Sex workers and sex trafficking survivors will hold a press conference on Friday, May 4, 2018 at 4:00 p.m. in Greenwich Village to remind policymakers that sex work is work. Sex trafficking involves coercion and should not be conflated with consensual sex work.
Sex workers and trafficking survivors are human beings who deserve equitable access to healthcare and freedom from violence. Laws purportedly aimed at curbing sexual exploitation such as FOSTA-SESTA and law enforcement actions such as the FBI’s seizure of Backpage criminalize people in the sex trade and community members who aid them, perpetuating violence and jeopardizing their health and safety.
Speakers will include Kristen DiAngelo, co-founder and executive director of Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP) Sacramento; Kate D’Adamo, a national policy advocate at the Sex Workers Project and a community organizer with the SWOP – NYC and Sex Workers Action New York; and Tara Coccinelle, outreach worker with SWOP Sacramento and coordinator of the Sex Workers’ Drop-In Resource Center and more On Saturday, May 5, 2018 at 10:00 p.m., the feature-length documentary film American Courtesans (USA, 2013) will screen at the Workers Unite Film Festival, New York City’s celebration of global labor solidarity. Immediately after the screening there will be a panel of sex workers and sex worker rights activists to discuss the intersection of labor rights and civil rights for sex workers in the USA.
The film will be shown as Program 5 at the festival. Please follow this link for tickets and more information here.
“No one wants to stop the exploitation of sex workers more than sex workers,” said SWOP Sacramento co-founder Kristen DiAngelo. “No one knows more about the exploitation of sex workers than sex workers. Plus no one has more to gain than sex workers if our own exploitation is stopped. So stop legislating our bodies and listen to us! Sex worker exploitation will not stop until we have equal rights under the law, and ability to work without criminalization. Then and only then, can we pick up the phone and call 911 to stop our exploitation.”
“We can only fight exploitation if we begin by seeing the sex trade as a form of labor, one where vulnerabilities are only compounded by criminalization and policing,” noted Sex Workers Project’s Kate D’Adamo. “The sex trade has been the economic backbone of communities shut out of the formal economy. It has kept roofs over heads, kids fed and cars full of gas to get to under-paying jobs. It has provided economic stability for people escaping intimate partner violence, people who have been searching for other forms of work, and people who have records that keep them unemployed.”
“Thanks to the FOSTA-SESTA, the seizure of Backpage, and the shutdown of Craigslist personals and other online resources, sex traffickers and pimps now enjoy the enhanced protection of invisibility, allowing them to prey on a new cohort of sex workers forced onto the streets after losing access to the web-based tools they depended on for their safety and livelihood,” observed SWOP Sacramento’s Tara Coccinelle. “Those hit the hardest by these legislative and legal attacks are the most marginalized workers in the sex trade – trans women and femmes, Black and Brown sex workers, homeless LGBTQ youth rejected by their families, people who trade sex to survive, and sex trafficking survivors – who had previously found a measure of safety by screening potential clients and avoiding dangerous ones via those shuttered sites; now they must scramble to survive with fewer resources amidst increased violence and coercion.”
Human and civil rights activist, director and co-producer of American Courtesans James Johnson said “It is a basic human right to be able to support oneself in a fair and safe environment through meaningful work, and meaningful work includes sex work” and “The government needs to stop harming the most marginalized people in our society and start doing what it was implements to do: Protect them!”
For the event’s FB page, please visit here.
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