ADD LOUISIANA TO THE LIST!
Louisiana – thanks to the incredible work of Women with a Vision – has become the third jurisdiction to introduce decriminalization legislation in the United States with HB 366.
Global Fights and International Solidarity
This year's International Women's Day reminded us about the importance of women's collective solidarity. On March 8, sex workers throughout Europe went on strike [iNews] to discuss decriminalization, health and safety. This is especially impactful, as the Nordic Model has now been put into action in several countries, and continues to push throughout the continent.
In a prime example of the importance of this local organizing, sex workers in Germany are trying to fight the proposed legislation [i-D] which they say will put them in jeopardy. Germany is currently a model of legalization where the industry is regulated by the government, and uniquely taxed. The last major overhaul came in 2002 [Deutsche Welle - EN], which sought to improve the conditions within the trade, but many have remarked that the persistent stigma has been a barrier that is yet to be overcome.
SayHerName in SA
This week, South African-based sex worker organization SWEAT released a report entitled Say Her Name, detailing the violence against their community. The report found that of the 101 deaths of cis and trans women sex workers in 2018/2019, 45% were linked to murder [IOL].
For the Hustlers Among Us
The International Strike comes just on the heels of a major win in the UK for dancers. London-based stripper Sonia Nowak and her union, United Strippers, were fought through the courts to get her club to re-classify her from an independent contractor to a worker [the Independent] (in the UK there are three categories - independent contractor, worker and employee).
Classifications of dancers have been a discussion here in the US, as well, as California just passed a law [The Intercept] governing those in the gig economy and expanding labor rights, including for dancers in the state. But strippers in other spots continue to remind us of the rampant labor rights violations they constantly face, as this thread lays out:
And for folks who are dancers and want to connect to other folks, this organization is looking to connect with you too!
Want to be an organizational hustler?
For sex workers who are looking to move beyond organizing and explore fundraising support, the Sex Worker Giving Circle might be a great opportunity to get involved, and learn more about the awesome work happening across the country:
Sex workers have also had a recent explosion of sharing and crafting their own narratives over the last few weeks, and it is inspiring.
Over the weekend, Chicago launched its Sex Workers Art Show:
To celebrate International Sex Worker Rights Day on March 3, Brooklyn-based SWOP-Brooklyn and Lysistrata arranged an art show which raised almost $8,000 for the mutual aid organization:
ew York will also enjoy a whole Sex Worker Pop-up with different events from March 10 - 16. The event was organized to complement the UN's annual event bringing together women from around the globe, the Commission on the Status of Women, which has been cancelled due to the corona virus, but can still be enjoyed by local folks.
And visibility really does matter. The Pop-up has put subway ads advertising the event:
(Yep - that's a church advertising it on twitter!) The anti-sex work group CATW already complained to the MTA about it (my personal favorite interaction with CATW involved their ED saying "these women can't be fixed" about anyone who has ever traded sex and then using incorrect language about trans identity).
And also in London, public transit is being politicized for sex workers' rights [DAZED] with posters saying #SexWorkisWork and #DecrimNow.
What a time to be in this fight. Back to the grind.