What is Sex Work?
Provision of sexual services or performances by one person (Sex Worker) for which a second person (Client or Observer) provides money or other markers of economic value.
These markers of economic value may include:
- & More
Sex Work is an Umbrella Term Inclusive of:
- Trade Sex
- Porn Performance
- Out Calls / In Calls
- & More
Sex Work Can Be Licit or Illicit.
Sex work involves a Worker, Consumer and oftentimes, a Manager.
In situations of illicit sex work, risk is involved for all three parties.
What is SESTA/FOSTA?
What is it?
- Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act / Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act
- Bipartisan bill passed by House and Senate March 2018, signed April 2018
How does it work?
- Makes third party sites responsible for posting ads for sex workers — legally liable for trafficking
- Shut down Craigslist personals, Backpage, and other sites
What’s the impact?
- Makes it more difficult for sex workers to find and screen clients
- Pushes people out into the street again — putting sex workers of color, of trans identity, and/or of undocumented status further at risk
- Creates more competition and more risk for sex workers who are 100% street-based (and often survival-based)
- Puts people more at risk of being trafficked
Why Do People Engage in Sex Work?
- Julia chooses to work as a dominatrix because the work is profitable and she enjoys it.
- Julia chooses to do sex work.
- Mark is marginally housed and engages in a relationship with Peter to have a place to sleep.
- Mark’s sex work is circumstantial.
- Leah’s partner coerces her into trading sex with their supplier in exchange for drugs, even though she doesn’t want to.
- This is a human rights violation and not the same as consensual sex work.
Sex Work is Work.
- Everyone who engages in sex work has personal, unique reasons for doing so.
- Sex work is one of the few trades in which someone without any formal education can provide for themselves at an equal level to someone with an advanced degree.
- However, sex workers who hold marginalized identities are uniquely vulnerable to racism, transphobia, xenophobia, classism, and other forms of structural violence.
Harm Reduction Interventions
- Drop-in Center
- Community Organizing
- & Policy Change
- Intra-community Skill Sharing
- Medical & Health Services
- Safer Drug Use & Overdose Prevention Materials
- Street Outreach
- Safer Sex Materials & Education
- Anonymous Testing Services
- Bad Date Sheet
- Offer Hand Sanitizer, Antiseptic Wipes, Mouthwash, Makeup Remover Towelettes
- Don’t try to “save” anyone from sex work
- St. James Infirmary: www.stjamesinfirmary.org
- Sex Worker Outreach Project: https://swopusa.org/
- SWOP Behind Bars: www.swopbehindbars.org
- Sex Workers Project: www.sexworkersproject.org
- For more resources, visit our Resource Center