Sex Workers: Legalization Won’t Promote Trafficking

Red light district

Recently, Amnesty International released Resolution 2.3. International Board – Policy calling for the decriminalisation of sex work (see page 4 of Circular No. 18). Shortly after, the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women International (CATW) published a letter opposing this policy, signed by celebrities such as Debra Winger, Kate Winslet, Emma Thompson, Gloria Steinham, Lisa Kudrow, Emily Blunt, and Kyra Sedgwick. Notably, none of the signers of the letter were actual sex workers.

Red light districtRefinery 29 interviewed Savannah Sly, a board member and Chapter Relations Coordinator for Sex Workers Outreach Project-USA who has been a sex worker for 11 years, to see what she thinks of the role of celebrity voices in the conversation around sex work.

She says, “Sex workers need labor rights. We need to be recognized as a labor force. We have this narrative of ‘victim,’ ‘pimp,’ and ‘john,’ which I think are all really derogatory, racist, classist terms. Really, sex workers prefer to look at this as ‘worker,’ ‘management,’ ‘client.’ It’s a more labor-rights-oriented way of looking at things… I stand firm that this is business. We call ourselves sex workers for a reason, and we want to be recognized as such.”

Read the full interview at Refinery 29.


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