Olivia Trabysh, Development & Communications OfficerOriginally posted to the Urgent Action Fund Blog on June 28, 2018.
The SIAPP team deconstructs this stigma by running workshops where they discuss agency along a continuum and work through scenarios together that explain how being pro-sex work exists alongside anti-trafficking, not in opposition to it.
hand out catalogs to the passers-by with addresses of hangouts, post their nasty ads on poles…The task is to ensure that prostitutes are not only out of sight, but in general from our life, public consciousness.”
The argument surrounding sex work becomes a moral and deeply gendered one when bills like the Anti-Trafficking Bill in India and reform described by Milonov are used to to define all sex work as exploitation. Voluntary sex work is not recognized and advanced argumentation surrounding the exploitive nature of all work in capitalist models does not exist.
This is how violence by the state against women and trans people becomes sanctioned. They become exploited for being exploited. And for Russia and Russian influenced periphery countries in Central Asia, prostitution becomes a “European” entity, a Western entity, Russia can further distance itself from and respond back to with force.
Right Side tries to address the economic hardships of sex workers, especially trans sex workers, by providing vocational trainings in make up and sewing. “We are proud that sex workers are not only beneficiaries of our NGO, but also volunteers and paid employees. Half of our board of representatives are sex workers.”
The most ironic part of this legislation designed to combat trafficking is that “traffickers might be the most stubborn of the participants in the market,” says Cunningham. They will survive and meanwhile, sex workers will be less able to connect with clients directly having to once again rely on pimps for their livelihood.
Those with the most oppressed identities are the most creative and equipped to design social solutions to carry our society forward.