AUDIOS are from the April 6, 2014 broadcast of Radio Autonomía: Zapatismo in the Bay on Berkeley Liberation Radio, 104.1FM, livestream at http://www.berkeleyliberationradio.net
“Prostitute,” it’s the term often used by law enforcement and the general public to label women, men and transgender people in the sex trade, but on today’s segment we use the terms “sex worker” or “person in the sex trade” since these terms consider sex as labor and part of an economy. While there are varied definitions and terms to discuss sexual transactions, there has been a heightened focus on sex trafficking in social and popular media; from rumors about human trafficking at the Super Bowl to new television programs like “Slave hunter” where bounty hunters rescue and free victims of trafficking.
Perhaps one of the most damaging misconceptions today is the confusion between sex trafficking and sex work. In fact, it’s this confusion that has led to the panic on sex trafficking and caused an increase in raids, policies, police violence on people in the sex trade AND those who are not involved the sex trade but are profiled as “manifesting Prostitution.” Sex workers want us to be clear about the difference between those trafficked and those in the sex trade: trafficking refers to people being forced against their will to participate in the sex trade, while a sex worker or a person in the sex trade refers to anyone trading sex for something of value. Sex worker organizers stress that this difference between the terms is very important since more laws criminalizing sexual transactions are producing unsafe environments for those who are NOT being forced against their will. The current panic on sex trafficking presumes that anyone involved in the sex trade is being exploited, and SWOP (Sex Workers Outreach Project in Arizona) says programs like Project ROSE, which stands for “Reaching Out to the Sexually Exploited,” are part of the problem. In the following interviews we will listen to members of Sex Workers Outreach Project from Arizona and the Best Practices Policy Project discuss Project ROSE and the legal case of Monica Jones, one of the many people who have been arrested by police Project ROSE stings. And finally we will hear from coalition member of PROS who helped to repeal the discriminatory regulation that denied sex worker rape survivor’s victim’s compensation.
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