Read the full article by Siouxsie Q. at APAC-USA.com
Following unprecedented involvement during the International Whores’ Day actions on June 1st and 2nd in cities across the nation, a summit of sex workers, survivors, and advocates from across the country convened in Los Angeles on June 22nd and 23rd to discuss next steps for the sex worker rights movement in the United States. They emerged at the end of the weekend having produced a concise four point document titled the National Sex Worker Anti-Criminalization Principles.
Using the 1983 Denver Principles as a template, which unequivocally declared and demanded the human rights of people living with HIV/AIDS, this document serves as a manifesto for how the sex working community will take back the narrative of exploitation and criminalization and reframe their struggle as a battle for basic human rights.
“This document positions sex workers in a way that takes back our narratives, insisting that our voices are prioritized when it comes to policies that affect our lives,” said Cris Sardina, Director of the Desiree Alliance: a sex worker rights convention that chose to cancel its 2019 programming in light of new laws that further criminalize the industry.
While the war on the sex industry has been raging for centuries in the United States, the catalyst for this latest wave of lobbying, litigation, media advocacy, and direct action is a new anti-sex trafficking bill commonly known as SESTA/FOSTA, signed into law in late March. Sex workers and their allies, along with trafficking survivors and advocates and have since been organizing and mobilizing to speak out about the law’s unintended but ultimately harmful consequences.
These communities who are often pitted against one another in both politics and media have come together to respond to the disappearance of dozens of online resources that sex workers had once used to put valuable space, time, and scrutiny between themselves and their clients. Now unable to use the internet freely to advertise and screen, sex workers must rely more heavily on potentially exploitative third parties, or turn to riskier options including street based sex work, where they are far more likely to experience violence from both predators and police.
“We hope that this serves as a starting point for law makers, journalists, advocates and academics to better understand our community’s needs,” said Kristin DiAngelo, a sex trafficking survivor, sex worker, and the Executive Director of the Sacramento chapter of the Sex Worker Outreach Project.