I really wanted to write something for the international day to end violence against sex workers (which is today) but was busy all day and didn’t think I would get a chance. So, at 20 minutes to midnight I am posting this which was written hastily (I’ll clean it up and add links in the next couple of days) but at least it is something.
Today is the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. When most people think of violence against sex workers their first thoughts are usually of clients or employers who become violent and while that does happen workers face violence from from many other people and institutions and today I have decided to focus on that.
We face violence from some social justice activists and feminists. If you campaign for laws that make it harder for us to work legally (or campaign to prevent sex work from being decriminalised) you are committing violence against sex workers. You are pushing the work underground, making it harder to access things such as health checks and safety equipment and making us less visible so that violence can go unnoticed.
We need decriminalisation so that we are not policed, the police have shown time and again that they are not to be trusted regulating or policing the sex industry, if you push for anything but decriminalisation you are pushing for us to be at risk of police violence.
If you don’t speak out against whorephobic feminists who attack sex workers and instead pretend it is a valid difference of opinion then you are allowing for feminist spaces to be unsafe for certain women. If you value sex workers as much as you do other women then you wont stand for this, any less is enabling violence against us.
If you buy into the myths that rape, harassment and assault are part and parcel of sex work then you are contributing to the rape culture that harms us. If a sex worker is raped, blame the rapist, don’t blame the industry and by extension the victim for working in the industry. The vast majority of clients do not rape workers, has it ever occurred to you that the few who do, do so knowing that people like you will focus more on how risky you think sex work is, rather than focusing on how rape is never ever okay?
The rescue industry commits violence against sex workers, if you support people like Somaly Mam and Nickolas Kristof then you need to do some research into what they actually do because unless you think locking sex workers up and taking away their rights and freedoms is a good thing then you need to question who they are really helping.
Violence against sex workers comes in many forms, please make sure that you are not contributing to it.