Some States' Wrap-Up
Right now you might be seeing a lot about state bills moving through or being tabled, which isn't a coincidence or a paradigm shift of everyone suddenly caring about state bills on sex work. Unlike the Federal legislature, which operates year-round, most state legislatures are only open for a few months at a time. The vast majority of states will have their legislatures wrapped up by the end of June, so this is crunch time in most places to pass or kill bills, and here's a quick wrap up so far.
- Florida's controversial "trafficking" bill heads back to the state House after the Senate revised the bill, re-including a provision to create a Registry for people charged with ANY prostitution-related crime. Cause apparently there has at some point ever been a time where that kind of thing didn't go horribly fucking wrong.
- California's Immunity/Condoms as Evidence Bill passed the Senate and moves to the Assembly. But Berkley, CA is moving ahead with immunity even before the bill passes.
- Washington (state) passed its Immunity Bill.
- Rhode Island's bill asking for a study on criminalization went up for a hearing.
- Nevada's ban on prostitution (allowed within brothels in certain counties currently) failed, while the bill looking into a study on working conditions within brothels is sitting in the committee on Legislative Operations and Elections.
- In New York, a bill that would expand the ability of people who have experienced trafficking to clear their records moved out of the committee.
- In other bullshit, Alabama, Louisiana and Georgia are joining Ohio and Kentucky to make access to abortions almost impossible. Louisiana is attempting to pass a "fetal heartbeat" bill, which bans abortions after a heartbeat is detected - typically around six weeks, while Alabama is looking to ban it entirely and challenge Roe v Wade.
- And it's not a law but Harris County, Texas is fucking evil and is using a nuisance law to sue people who trade sex.
Some Things Didn't Fit Anywhere Else
Surprise! There isn't a massive rise in trafficking into commercial sex at the Kentucky Derby. 🏇🏼
Check out this new book of sex worker poetry being released!
A Global Perspective
This last week was the Harm Reduction International Conference, where there was some discussion on sex work:
But still some challenges (Seriously, y'all?):
Sex work nerds! The Global Alliance Against Trafficking in Women's newest edition of the Anti-Trafficking Review was released this week. I cannot recommend this journal enough when approaching the issue of trafficking in persons. The articles are always fantastic, and take a global, human-rights-based perspective on the issue. This most recent issue focuses on sex work and includes articles on organizing in the Philippines, anti-trafficking efforts as violence against sex workers, and anti-trafficking's colonial violence.
Last week also saw sex workers around the world march for May Day, a holiday to honor the Chicago-based labor organizing and solidarity strike that brought us the eight hour work day and resulted in the state executions of four men. While there is often no official recognition of the holiday in the United States (Eisenhower thought it was a socialist ploy and turned it into 'Loyalty Day'), countries with a strong labor rights movement often mark the day with marches and protests. This year sex workers took to the streets in Mexico City, Mexico; Bangalore (the capital city of the Indian state of Karnataka), India; Lagos, Nigeria; and Las Vegas, Nevada.
And if you're going to be in London in May, you absolutely should not miss this incredible event (and if you're there, you better live Tweet that joy because we all need to live vicariously through you):
Shifts In Law Enforcement Relations?
After talking about the rampant police sexual violence against sex workers on social media, Nigerian activist Dorothy Njemanze was invited to talk more by local police. While that's definitely the hook, the article itself goes more into the allegations of abuse, and targeting of sex workers ore broadly.
Under decriminalization, sex workers in New Zealand have a very different relationship with local police.
But this ain't New Zealand and we don't have decrim, so lets also balance that against this really awesome work to decrease funding for prisons and police in San Francisco:
And for a memory worth celebrating, check out this one about how Black sex workers changed Mardi Gras.
Honoring Where We Came From (Our Moms)
This coming Sunday is Mother's Day! I don't know if you're as bad as I am at sending cards and presents on time, but in case you're still looking, here's last minute gift: National Bail Out is a Black-led and Black-centered organization striving to end pretrial detention and mass incarceration. They also coordinate #FreeBlackMamas, which seeks to free incarcerated Black mamas from cages and reunite them with their families by posting their bail. Every year I donate on behalf of my Mama, and if you're looking for a place to give, they have links to all of their local partners participating in the action. This year, my Mama's gonna help bail out a Mama from Richmond, VA thanks to Southerns on New Ground, and I know she's going to love it.
Back to the grind.