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Giulia Garofalo Geymonat

P.G. Macioti

Gendered, racist, classist, homophobic, and transphobic violence haunts the world of sex work, and many of us believe that states, intergovernmental organisations, and NGOs should do more to help. Yet a lot is being done, the problem is the efficacy of these interventions. This series addresses the violence, exploitation, abuse, and trafficking present in the sex industries, but it does so from the perspective of sex workers themselves.

These are the women, men, and transgender people who are directly touched by interventions made 'in their name', and they are the people who actively and collectively resist all forms of violence against them. By publishing their voices directly we hope to help readers resist indifference, on the one hand, and to become more critical of states’ interventions, which are widely regarded and legitimated as necessary to combat ‘trafficking’, on the other. Read on...

From brothels to independence: the neoliberalisation of (sex) work

Sex workers in the UK are by now just another part of the online, freelance, customer-reviewed digital economy. Their story of how they got there exposes a dangerous shift.

"If I were born again, I would still be a sex worker"

Elena Reynaga, RedTraSex Executive Secretary and founder of AMMAR shares her story, the success of her organisations and the ongoing fight for sex worker rights in Latin America. Interview. Español

German law endangers sex workers

The ‘prostitutes protection law’, passed 7 June by the German parliament, is a huge step backwards for sex workers rights.

Helping sex workers help themselves

Laws criminalising prostitution have done incredible damage to sex workers over the years but they have never succeeded in ending the practice. For that reason alone they should be opposed. Español

South Korea: sex workers fighting the law and law enforcement

South Korea introduced a raft of new laws against sex work in 2004. These repressive policies are now up for constitutional review due to the intense reaction by sex workers there.

We support Jeremy Corbyn on decriminalisation

Prostitution is rising along with poverty in Britain. To protect women both the criminalisation of sex work and austerity must be reversed.

The power of putas: the Brazilian prostitutes’ movement in times of political reaction

Faced with regressive policies grounded in moral panics over sexual exploitation and trafficking, the Brazilian prostitutes’ movement has mobilised to ensure a seat for itself at the policy-making table. Español

Sex work activism in South Africa: a struggle for visibility

Organising sex workers to protest injustice, create safe spaces, and support one another is a difficult job. One South African organisation shares its stories of success.

The creative protests of sex workers in Argentina

Sex work in Argentina is legal, but since 2011 the anti-trafficking agenda has increasingly threatened that status. This has led to new alliances and strategies of resistance among sex workers there. Español

We don’t do sex work because we are poor, we do sex work to end our poverty

Many Thai women become sex workers not because they are poor, but in order to escape poverty. In doing so they have become providers and heads of households, and they deserve respect for that accomplishment. Español

Trafficking discourses and sex workers' mobilisation in eastern Europe and central Asia

Sex workers in eastern Europe and central Asia resist their social exclusion and repression in many ways, but the political climate has so far prevented broad-based organising.

Sex work is a social and not a criminal issue!

Sex workers in Italy banned together against abolitionist projects and managed to force support mechanisms for 'trafficking victims' into anti-trafficking legislation. 

Sex workers want peer knowledge, not state control

A proposed law in Germany pretends to help prostitutes by registering them, but it will only increase sex workers’ precariousness and vulnerability. Respect and peer knowledge would go much farther.

The French state against sex workers: a security and racist logic

The French state ostensibly sees sex workers as victims, but its combined legal framework positions them first and foremost as offenders, especially when they are migrants.

At long last, listen to the women!

State entrapment, extortion, imprisonment and slander sharpen the consciousness of sex workers who denounce anti-prostitution, anti-pimping and anti-trafficking policies invariably used to repress women and undermine feminist liberation struggles.

What gives them the right to judge us?

Chinese sex workers in Paris demand respect from those who had no right to take it away in the first place.

We speak but you don’t listen: migrant sex worker organising at the border

The sex workers’ movement demands full decriminalisation of sex work, but this will only help sex workers already permitted to work unless migrants are also provided with labour and residence rights.

For decriminalisation and justice: sex workers demand legal reform and social change

Austerity has increased poverty, particularly for women, while the rise of the far right has exacerbated hostilities against migrants and LGBT people, catching sex workers in a web of intersectional vulnerability.

Sex workers speak: who listens?

Across the world sex workers organise to resist abuse, exploitation, and trafficking. For two weeks we will air their voices. Let us listen.

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‘Sex workers speak. Who listens?’ on Beyond Trafficking and Slavery is sponsored by and emerges from the ongoing activities of COST Action IS1209 ‘Comparing European Prostitution Policies: Understanding Scales and Cultures of Governance' (ProsPol). ProsPol is funded by COST, and the University of Essex is its Grant Holder Institution.
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