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13 Mar, 2019 10:56

Hey all,

I've been meaning to get this set up for a while. I'm making this thread to facilitate discussion of the decriminalization of sex work, a topic that's been hitherto largely ignored by the progressive movement. It's an issue I strongly believe we should be endorsing, but given the narrative surrounding it and the sensitive nature of the subject, I imagine people have questions and concerns they would like to discuss before we take any formal action in favor of it. A few links to get things started:

"The New Abolitionist Model"- a feminist refutation of the "Nordic Model" for decriminalization: https://jacobinmag.com/2017/12/sex-work-the-pimping-of-prostitution-review

"Lies, Damned Lies, and Sex Work Statistics"- an article on how sex work is deliberately conflated with human trafficking by those who oppose it: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2014/03/27/lies-damned-lies-and-sex-work-statistics/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.eba841edfb95

"Human Trafficking Has Become a Meaningless Term"- another article on the above: https://newrepublic.com/article/123302/human-trafficking-has-become-meaningless-term

"Decriminalizing Sex Work is the Only Way to Protect Women- and New Zealand Has Proved That It Works"- an article discussing the effects of New Zealand's blanket decriminalization of sex work, including the results of a government study that was mandated by the law decriminalizing it: https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/sex-workers-decriminalisation-of-prostitution-new-zealand-new-law-works-research-proves-sex-workers-a7761426.html

"Craigslist's Erotic Services Site Appears to Have Reduced Female Homicide Rates by 17 Percent"- article discussing the results of a peer-reviewed study from the University of West Virginia on the effects of Craiglist's erotic services section: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/craigslists-erotic-services-site-appears-to-have-reduced_us_59df8778e4b0cee7b9549e66

"D.C. Candidates Battle Over Decriminalizing Sex Work"- an overview of the new bill that's been put before the D.C. Council. It includes a link to the text of the bill itself: https://reason.com/blog/2018/06/05/dc-candidates-divided-on-sex-work-decrim

Additionally, February's ORA speaker and sex worker advocate Tamika Spellman from HIPS is available at advocacyfellow@hips.org to take any questions you might want to ask her on the subject directly.

02 Apr, 2019 10:13

"The Decriminalization of Sex Work is Creeping Into the 2020 Campaign"- https://theintercept.com/2019/03/29/2020-election-sex-work-decriminalization/

Interesting segments from the article:

"Passage of the law resulted in the shutdown of prominent personal ad sites and marketplaces, forcing sex workers to resort to working on the streets or with pimps. It also led sex workers, who often feel abandoned by the progressive left, to organize and ramp up their activism."


"Sanders, for his part, was asked for his stance on decriminalization in an interview with the hip-hop morning show “The Breakfast Club.” He replied, “That’s a good question, and I don’t have an answer for that.”

Luo called Sanders’s response disingenuous because “people who trade sex have been trying to meet with him for years.” His vote for SESTA-FOSTA means that “it’s not like this is the first time this has ever, like, come across his desk,” Luo said, noting that some DSA members opposed endorsing the Vermont senator because of that vote. They lost that battle: DSA’s National Political Committee voted 11-4 to back Sanders on March 21, following an advisory poll of dues-paying members. Roughly a quarter of DSA’s total membership participated in the poll, with 76 percent voting to endorse and 24 percent voting against it. But some members say the rushed endorsement surrendered any leverage the group could have had in pushing him to the left and also signaled that the issues affecting sex workers aren’t as important to the organization.

Ana Mri, a sex worker and former member of Las Vegas DSA, said her community has lost a powerful tool to hold Sanders accountable. At the same time, she added, even if the endorsement were not rushed, it’s unclear whether DSA — which, in her experience, can be hostile toward sex workers — would have tried to push the candidate on the issue, because the organization hasn’t formulated its own position on decriminalization."

Emphasis in bold my own. Supporting decriminalization is important not only for the material benefits of doing so, but also for expanding support for our movement among marginalized communities.

Edited 02 Apr, 2019 10:14
05 Apr, 2019 17:21

Here's an article which explains in-depth why the "Nordic Model" of decriminalization does more harm than good: https://theintercept.com/2019/04/05/florida-human-trafficking-registry-sex-work/

"Similar examples abound abroad. In both Canada and France, where “end demand” legislation was introduced in 2014 and 2016, respectively, extensive studies found that the laws did more harm than good for sex workers. Hélène Le Bail, a researcher at Sciences Po CERI in Paris, carried out a study involving 691 sex workers and concluded that “end demand” laws have resulted in an “acute increase in socioeconomic vulnerability.” A Canadian study from the University of British Columbia, which interviewed 854 sex workers in the region, found that the “end demand” laws had significantly dissuaded workers from accessing support services. Advocacy groups in opposition to the Florida bills presented these studies, among others, to lawmakers alongside numerous firsthand sex worker testimonies."

"McCracken said that her own studies have highlighted the dangers of “end demand” policies like the registry. McCracken recently returned from a research trip to New Zealand, where neither consensually selling nor buying sex is criminalized (with certain exceptions), and said that the sex workers she interviewed reported a decrease in violence, particularly violent interactions with police. “Lawmakers here act like they have to pass any legislation with ‘trafficking’ in title,” she said of the American debate. “They don’t. They should pass legislation responsibly.”

Edited 05 Apr, 2019 17:26