Starting here: the abuses of the anti-trafficking movement

The final count on “Sex Workers Against the Media” is in–we raised $733. Awesome–that money is going to these fierce ladies!

One of the things I am most passionate about but haven’t yet addressed at length in this blog is solidarity between Western sex workers and those from the global south. These are workers who are defined in Western media, in the (Western) public imagination and by (Western) NGO’s as all being actual or potential “victims of trafficking”. Not surprisingly, organizations comprised of sex workers themselves see things very differently but their voices are incredibly marginalized in the debates here in Canada and the US. Goddamned everyone thinks they can speak for sex workers, especially if they are poor women of colour.

I haven’t written here about solidarity with sex workers of colour from the global south because, like the issue of “safety”, the “anti-trafficking” discourse is so loaded that when I try to, I just end up furious and upset and ranting. Equally, I worry that I’ll fuck up and end up reproducing the patronizing attitude of westerners “rescuers”.

I have to start somewhere though. I will start by saying that I’m committed to supporting the autonomous organizing and leadership of sex workers from the global south (or poor nations, or “developing world” (eck) as it is sometimes called)–and mostly what they’re saying is that yo! the anti-trafficking “rescues” by the state and by Christian orgs have led to violence against sex workers, criminalization, arrests, deportations, deaths in custody and all sorts of havoc (like making it harder and harder to cross borders). Check out this video on SexWorkersPresent about the impact in Cambodia.

I’m thrilled to have just started a four month training in San Francisco called the Anne Braden anti-racism program for white social justice activists. Amazing eh? One of the things I hope to get out of the ABP is to further develop my ability to be a principled and effective ally to sex workers of colour, internationally. Already, after only one orientation weekend, my perspective is shifting, ideas are firing wildly and my heart is throbbing with the sadness that underlies all of my fury.

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