Recent Discussions about Sex Workers both online and offline
Through various forums, in the media, social networks and other places we are seeing a range of people – Politicians, academics, feminists, general population, abolitionists, anti sex work groups and a range of others who are not sex workers themselves making comments, writing articles and blogs and whatnot about sex workers.
We see them try to tell us that sex workers are trafficked, are forced into the industry, that they wouldnt choose sex work if they had other options, that sex work should be criminalised and should find ways to stop it exisiting, or that we criminalise either sex workers or clients or both. We see them try to tell the world that sex workers dont know whats best for them, that we are victims who need to be rescued and dont allow us to have a voice.
We are told that sex workers are bad, that we dont deserve the same rights as any other person who works in any other industry, that we all have drug habits, are abused, are victims, and need saving from ourselves..
YES – trafficking and sex slavery exist, sex workers with mental health issues and drug issues exist, yes some sex workers are in this industry out of absolute necessity. And yes there are those who need help and support and understanding and the ability to get out of the industry if needed.
BUT – What of those of us who are – intelligent, independent and strong people who have made an informed and concious decision to become a sex worker? We are aware of the laws, we run our business well, we interact with the community, we are parents, sisters, brothers, someones child, we are grown ups who have made this choice – no one forced us, we arent trafficked or a sex slave or a victim or in need of rescue.
Sex work is like any other form of employment – The builder next door, the lady behind the counter at woollies, the teacher who teaches our kids, the doctor who works 18 hours a day in emergency, we all do some form of employment. Why? To pay our bills, to go on that holiday, to own our own homes, to pay for our kids education, to get ahead in life, and all the other reasons you go to work, and get paid. We all pay taxes to the government. Isnt it better to be working as a sex worker than be on unemployment?
So its time people started listening to what we had to say about our own industry. We are the experts seeing that we are the ones actually working in this industry. Its time the laws changed to decriminalisation, its time people stopped telling us they know whats best for us especially considering they dont want to hear what we have to say in the first pace how can they know whats best for sex workers or even the clients we see.
It is time that people including the media, the government, feminists, former sex workers (who focus only on their negative experiences) academics and anyone else who knows nothing of our industry or job to start paying attention and actually listening to what we have to say. And its time you UNDERSTAND THE DIFFERENCE between sex work and trafficking