Sex Workers Project
Posted by Jack Stephens on March 19, 2008
As the Spitzer scandal burns down into its coal-like embers, there’s been a lot of discussion about the nature of sex work as well as what society’s response to it should be. Legalization? The Swedish model? Or something else? Should we be looking at sex work as another kind of labor in which people–especially oppressed people–are victimized, coerced, trafficked and usually unable to exercise control over their work and their pay? Or is it somehow inherently different and deserving of different treatment? I don’t pretend to have all or even any of the answers to all of this. I’m not a sex worker myself, and since it seems clear to me that sex workers themselves are especially marginalized and victimized from multiple sides (traffickers, coercive environments, the dangers of a black market, bad clients, the hostile anti-prostitute stigmas of our culture, and not least law enforcement) I tend to think we should work to give sex workers–especially the most marginalized and silenced–more political voice and agency in how this industry is affected by theory, laws, policy, and practice. The most I can do on that front is try to be an ally to the current and former sex workers in my life, and to organizations that are run by and for sex workers and former sex workers.