2015 Trans Day of Remembrance Statement & Fact Sheet

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On November 20, Sex Workers Outreach Project joined trans communities in recognizing Trans Day of Remembrance. The Day of Remembrance began in 1998 in Boston, as the trans community mobilized around the murder of activist and advocate Rita Hestler. The vigils and speakouts held around the country are a moving and stark reminder that for millions of transgender people worldwide, the fight for survival continues.

This year, 12 of 41 sex workers murdered in the United States were trans women (29% of sex worker homicides), and 11 were trans women of color. This is a continuation of trends identified in 2012 Anti Violence Project (AVP) Report which found that 50% of GLBT homicide victims were trans women of color, and 23% homicides were connected to sex work. On this day, we stand in solidarity with trans communities and recognize that violence against trans women, especially trans (more…)

SWOP-Las Vegas Supports ESPLERP! ~ Inside the Groundbreaking Lawsuit that could Decriminalize Sex Work in California

There’s a saying in American politics: As California goes, so goes the nation. If that’s true, we may be at the start of a nationwide fight to decriminalize sex work.

The Erotic Service Provider Legal, Education, and Research Project (ESPLERP) filed a federal lawsuit on March 4 that seeks to overturn the criminalization of prostitution in California by arguing that the ban is unconstitutional under the First Amendment because it hinders sex workers’ rights to participate in private and consensual activities.

The fight to decriminalize prostitution in California is a longstanding one. Most recently, San Francisco shot down a ballot measure proposing (more…)

Flawed Justice for Sex Workers

A new sort of trafficking court, where victims are the defendants

When New York’s Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman debuted the state’s Human Trafficking Intervention Courts a year ago, he called them “a great leap forward” for the state, promising a new “just and compassionate” national model for those arrested for prostitution by “treating these defendants as trafficking victims.”

But in these courtrooms, defendants charged with prostitution continue to cycle through, their cases shuffled along with a minimum of words. Some of these “victims” appear in handcuffs. Defendants — almost all women, and overwhelmingly women of color — are given hearings that (more…)

Research Project Germany, Guest Post: “The Talking Whore”

Reflections about Sex Work, Solidarity and Political Efficacy

After the Conference “Fantasies That Matter – Images of Sex Work in Media and Art”

I am a sex worker from Berlin and for the last two years, I’ve been an active participant in the sex workers’ rights movement. Fighting against the tightening of Germany’s prostitution legislation, which thankfully was relatively liberal so far, is crucial for me. On the weekend from August 8-10, I attended the conference “Fantasies That Matter – Images of Sex Work in Media and Art”, part of the International Summer Festival at Kampnagel in Hamburg.

As a sex worker activist, I am particularly concerned with and unhappy about the presence and (more…)

Labor Intensive: In Defense of Sex Work

Sex work is not a liability. It is a form of labor and art; its participants don’t deserve violence or stigma.

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Christy Mack

The attempted murder of Christy Mack is sickening. On August 8th, Mack’s former partner Jonathan Koppenhaver (also known by his Mixed Martial Arts name “War Machine”) broke into Mack’s house; for hours he viciously beat her, threatened to kill her and sexually assaulted her. Only after he left the room did Mack manage to escape with her life. At the end of it all she had 18 broken bones in her face, shattered and knocked out teeth, broken ribs and a ruptured liver. Her leg was so badly injured by Koppenhaver that Mack has trouble walking.

The public response to this heinous act has been equally gut-wrenching. Right-wing pundits and internet commentators have trotted out a predictable but no less (more…)

Don’t Shoot LV Rally & Vigil, Thurs, Aug 28th @ 7-8:30pm

DontShootLV-300x300Michael Brown is the unarmed teenager who was gunned down by a police officer who accused him of jay-walking as he walked with a friend to his grandmother’s house in Ferguson, MO. Michael was shot six times, including twice in his face.

Racial profiling, over-policing, and the militarization of the police have made acts of police brutality pervasive in our nation. We demand immediate action to bring Michael Brown’s killer to justice and put a stop to police violence in Ferguson and across the country by undertaking (more…)

Nordic Model Redefines “Success” as No Results, All Collateral Damage

Last week the Norwegian government released a study it had commissioned on its 2009 law that criminalized the buying of sex. Abolitionists everywhere lauded the results: “success!” The law, which had been modeled after the Swedish Model of criminalizing buyers of sexual services (known as “Ending Demand” for sexual services), was passed in 2009. Even before its impact was weighed, it was considered ripe for exporting to other countries. As Canada debates the passage of C36, another law based on the Swedish Model, the need for robust analysis on the impact of these laws is only growing. However, a review of the study’s findings show that for those touting the Swedish model, success means all collateral damages and no real (more…)