International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers!

by Patricia Sauthoff

image by Julica da Costa

image by Julica da Costa

The oldest profession in the world is also one of the most dangerous. Sex workers, even those not involved in the illegal sex trade that plagues most of the world, are at risk for violence from their customers, often because those who perpetuate the violence use the illegality of the sex trade to their advantage. A woman who is illegally selling sex is at a disadvantage when it comes to reporting instances of violence against her. Because of this the Sex Workers Outreach Project has declared December 17 International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers.

Rather than focus on the stats of violence against women (and men) in the sex trade let’s take a minute here to think about what sex work adds to society.

Nearly all of us have engaged with a sex worker in some way–be it watching pornography, going to a strip club or live sex show, paying a prostitute for his/her services, calling a phone sex line or seeking out a dominatrix. Whatever the interaction, the customer gains something beautiful. Be it release, inspiration or the self esteem of knowing ones kinks are shared by others.

So why disrespect the men and women who share their bodies for a little (or a lot of) cash? For those who can’t give their respect face-to-face to a sex worker (on December 17 or any other day) there are still some things you can do.
*First: watch your mouth! Stop using words like whore, slut, hooker, etc. as a pejorative.
*Second: be mindful of how the end product came about; avoid exploitation, seek out products in which the participants are consenting.
*Third: don’t be ashamed of your own participation. Violence often comes from feelings of low self esteem so be proud that you’re a sexual being looking for an outlet.
*Fourth: show support for the legalization of prostitution in your area. With the law behind them sex workers are safer.
*Five: educate yourself about the lives of sex workers. Actress Ashely Blue’s blog (NSFW–duh!) is a pretty tame start.

We all like sex, so lets all show appreciation to the workers that sell it!

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