As a person inhabiting this world, it is your ethical responsibility to take the time to decide how to best work toward something better. Whether you’re donating $50, $50,000, or only able to use Smile or affiliate links to help out, it counts, and it’s worth it. Not for the “feels,” but for tomorrow.
You will never stop sex work with law enforcement. You know how you will decrease sex work? By fighting poverty. You know how you will decrease trafficking? By making it safe for sex workers to come to police to report coercion and abuse. That safety isn’t something you can expect to magically happen on the part of law enforcement, because it won’t. That safety requires rights. And it requires a community and a world that will stand up for those rights.
As high schools graduations are celebrated around the country, a number of seniors and parents are turning to the Princeton Review to make final choices about colleges, but the women’s rights activist group UltraViolet worries that parents don’t have all the information they need. This month, they kicked off a campaign petitioning the popular college guide to list sexual assault prevention and response rankings.
Sometimes I joke that I’m “all out of fucks.” And I’m not the only one who describes concern this way. In fact, “there goes the last fuck” renders 49,500,000 results in Google. Countless gifs have been made illustrating the many fucks given — sometimes in flight, sometimes in a glass but always in association with scarcity. We either don’t want to give a fuck, or we have no more fucks left to give. But this isn’t descriptive of how concern works. Concern is not a limited resource.
A U.S. citizen was detained by Customs and Border Patrol agents without grounds and interrogated twice over the course of five hours, a recent lawsuit reveals. She was asked personal questions about her relationship with a foreign national friend who was legally visiting the U.S. on a business visa, including whether they were sleeping together. The agents said they had access to their year-long e-mail exchanges. What had the guy done to get this much attention? He must have done something, right? Nope.
Today is December 17, the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, a day created to bring attention to the crimes committed against men and women in sex work. This day isn’t about trafficking. Human trafficking and sex work are different things. In fact, failing to see the difference between those things hurts sex works more than helps them. They don’t need to be “rescued” from their work. They need rights. Until sex workers are given rights, the dangers they face will only continue.
Red Umbrella Diaries are storytelling events where sex workers share their experiences with an audience. Over one hundred sex workers have told their stories since their inception in New York’s Lower East Side. Now, the organization that runs them, RedUP, is making a documentary to bring the Diaries to the world. Formatted in the style of the concert documentary, a crew will follow seven sex worker story-tellers as they prepare to go live in front of 200 people at New York’s multicultural musical clearinghouse, Joe’s Pub.
Sex educator Allison Moon is working on a book for queer women, lesbians, bisexuals and those who might be curious. Part story, part how-to guide, this book emphasizes pleasure-positive and consent-oriented sex, and is filled with the insights of over 15 other sex educators such as Tristan Taormino, Reid Mihalko and Carol Queen. It’s being illustrated by kd diamond, founder of the queer and beautifully-illustrated Salacious magazine. But the two need your help to make it happen!
Yale’s report reads, “we are mindful that multiple reports and the national statistics indicate that significant underreporting of sexual misconduct persists on campuses across the country. The participants in our recent Campus Climate Assessment suggested a number of measures to increase the likelihood of reporting, and we are working to translate many of those suggestions into action.” Uh, how about actually punishing rapists?
Trafficking won’t stop until we learn to tell the difference between those who are coerced into prostitution and those who aren’t. Painting the entire red light district in Amsterdam — one of the few places where sex work is legal and sex workers have rights — as a trafficking zone will only result in criminalizing prostitution, putting all sex workers at risk of exploitation. How is this a better option that working with sex workers there to find trafficking victims?