2020 is a new year, and it's already showing what is possible and giving us a hint on what's to come this year.
Have you heard about Trafficking? Are you AWARE?
For the last ten years, January has been declared "Human Trafficking Awareness Month." To try and crack into the news cycle dedicated to this, which is regularly dominated by police press releases and bizarre community art events, the website Open Democracy is doing a series of pieces which highlight the relationship between sex worker community and anti-trafficking/anti-exploitation efforts. It'll be a great series to follow to learn more about what's happening around the globe, and how sex workers are not just fighting back against anti-sex work efforts, but how affirmatives strides are being made with sex workers themselves. See their first piece on how decriminalization New Zealand is working to prevent trafficking.
But not every attempt to address trafficking with sex workers is getting praise this month. After a lukewarm article appeared in the New York Times regarding New York State's attempt at "Human Trafficking Intervention Courts," legendary journalist and sex worker advocate Melissa Gira Grant reminded everyone that it's not a question - these courts have been around a long time, the approach isn't new, and sex workers have been vocal about their problems for years.
Another platform shits on sex workers
After years of community knowledge, questions and side eye-ing, AirBnb is using an algorithm which may be targeting sex workers.
Vermont Joins the Race
Vermont just became the third location to introduce a bill to fully decriminalize the sex trade. The bill is sponsored by four state legislators who have seen the research and decided to introduce. Unlike New York and DC, it's not clear how involved local sex workers are in the fight, but it's enough to cross our fingers!
Local Prosecutors in the Mix
As we saw from the wave of "progressive prosecutors" who made headlines last year, two new spots, Los Angeles [TheAppeal.org] and Alleghany County, PA, [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette] are already getting in on the conversation to see what role local jurisdictions play in decriminalization.
Sex Workers Are My Heroes
Fires have been raging throughout Australia, burning over 1.5 million aces, killing at least 24 people [NY Times], burning over 2,000 homes and killing over a billion animals. A few sex workers have decided to contribute to the fight by offering nude shots in exchange for donations [DAZED] in the effort to mobilize. Thus far, sex workers have raised over a million dollars [Grit Daily]. Fuck yeah.
In a September 19 raid of a flat shared by two migrant sex workers in the UK, both women were arrested and charged with "maintaining a brothel" (but third party charges never hit sex workers who are working together, so you don't need full decrim, right?). After months of fighting by the English Collective of Prostitutes and due to the fortitude and strength of the two women, charges have been dropped [Huffington Post].
And this article is an incredibly endearing look at a few male-identified providers who work with female clients [Buzzfeed] and say the things we already know: it's about so much more than getting someone off.
Coming up is the Women's March 2020, which has included supporting sex workers in its national platform (every chapter is autonomous, though), and some SWOP chapters are rallying to show and find support:
Remembering those we've lost
January 7 was the one year anniversary of Timothy Dean, the hopefully last victim of Ed Buck. Buck was well known in the LA queer and sex worker community for targeting men of color, which also meant he fell painfully far down on the list of predators the LAPD went after. Timothy was 55 when he passed away, and in the wake of his death, his family has filed a civil suit against Buck.
Building Community in 2020
There is so much to build on in 2020, and sex worker community continues to grow and bloom in ways that should scare SWERFs shitless.
Providers in Chicago:
Providers in Florida:
Providers in New York City:
And DecrimNY has a rad new logo!
We won't mention the very, very well-funded insurance company who sued every fucking sex worker org who was using a red umbrella and made everyone change their logos, but just see that the new one is awesome.
And New Hampshire:
Workers Behind Sex Workers
And want to step up even more in the push to secure sex worker rights? SWOP-USA is looking for a new executive director!
But if you're not up for a full-time gig, there are still opportunities:
I couldn't be more excited to get back to the grind.