International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers

So, today is the International Day to end violence against sex workers.

I have to say that while I support this day (and these actions), I have very little functional knowledge about what it is like to be a sex worker, or what the violence, or risk thereof, is like. What I do know is that the society that I live in (the North American one) sex workers are very commonly degraded, looked down on, joked about, and used as examples what not to be. Society paints these people as caricatures, rather than as people with families, rights, and feelings. Society makes jokes at the expense of these people. Society uses the status of sex worker, or slang for sex worker, as insults for (mostly female) people that they feel the need to shame. And with these actions, society condones the violence, oppression, and degradation of these people (who chose, coercively or otherwise, or were forced into becoming sex workers).

Each time:

  • a joke is made with the punchline being about a sex worker being sexually violated…
  • a person is called a name that compares them to a sex worker (in a negative way) for the way that they dress, the way that they act, the company that they keep, or the sexuality they have…
  • a song, game, movie, or television show is listened to, produced, or performed that glorifies the mistreatment and violence towards sex workers…

society is condoning the violence, sexual violation, hatred, discrimination and oppression of sex workers.

So, for these reasons, on this day, I plead with you, stand up against those that use language that degrades sex workers, stand up against the actions that put sex workers in greater danger, and stand up against the violence and abuse that sex workers face. And remember that sex workers are people too, with families, feelings, existences, and rights.

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