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Today is Dec 17th, and the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. Both a day of remembrance, it is also a day to inspire action. For some inspiration, guidance, and wisdom, here is a  To-Do List for Sex Worker Rights Activism paraphrased from Scarlot Harlot’s book “Unrepentant Whore”. 

More info on Scarlot Harlot, a biography of her work, art, and activism visit here.

  • Review the history of prostitution research and expose the twisted statistics. Facilitate responsible research and study of sex work issues.
  • Repeal the laws that criminalize the poor including prostitution and drug laws.
  • Research how incarceration effects prostitutes including mandatory recovery and rehabilitation programs.
  • Support those who are currently incarcerated by writing letters and advocacy.
  • Demand social services be available to sex workers.
  • Think and write about the connection between poverty and violence. Feminist rhetoric obscures this… “any woman can be a victim of violence”
  • Value, document, celebrate and enrich your own sex worker community.
  • Develop solidarity across gender, race, class, nationality and other divides.
  • Support sexual freedom for all including the disabled, queer, transgender, polyamorous etc.
  • Empower sex workers with computer training, cameras, art supplies and other tools for self-expression and community documentation.
  • Create local commissions of sex workers to plan decriminalization campaigns. Address immediate issues. Get funding for stipends, foods, child-care, etc.
  • Keep your government accountable to police crimes against prostitutes.
  • Organize supporters: attorneys, health & social workers, etc.
  • Make your positions known through the media with publications, press releases, press conferences, demonstrations, and street theater.
  • Organize support for litigational challenges to the prostitution laws. Challenge arrests and convictions. Liason with law schools and students.
  • Start drop-in centers, occupational and health clinics, housing resources, bad client lists, workshops, schools, etc. inclusive of sex workers
  • Organize sex worker performances, festivals, conferences, publishing companies, TV and radio shows. Include sex workers from all walks and genders.
  • Research the economics of your local sex industries…how many are employed, income, tax, revenue, etc.?
  • Unionize the legal sex industries, phone sex, porn, brothel workers in Nevada.
  • Organize sex work business and cooperatives.
  • Create multi-gender sex work businesses everywhere.
  • Help organizations run by sex workers by donating money, volunteering, and writing funding proposals.
  • Network with other sex worker organizations. Sex work is global. Stay informed about international issues and review legislation and policies.
  • Join the International Union of Sex Workers at iusw.org
  • Include sex worker rights advocates as presenters in sex education curricula so young people can understand the diversity of experiences in the sex industry, the real lives of sex workers, the real pitfalls and successes.
  • Help organize young people in the sex industry to make recommendations regarding policies and laws that affect youth.
  • What about religious freedom? Sex worker spiritualists should have the right to their own centers for worship and tax deductions.
  • To stop the injustice and cycle of violence: no discrimination, guaranteed incomes, global living wages, open borders, and peace.

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