SWOP stands with all right thinking people in condemning the use of Force, Fraud Coercion or Abuse in any workplace.  We will continue building partnerships with groups and jurisdictions interested in helping victims out of such terrible situations.  SWOP-Seattle is committed to sex workers and their communities being a central part of the solution to abuses within our industry.

With this goal in mind, we condemn the “rescue/raid” approach to dealing with this problem, as it has been shown time and again to be a traumatic experience which harms actual victims, and deals tremendous collateral damage to victims and sex workers.  Just as in domestic violence situations, social workers and outreach workers should be prioritized as first responders to potentially violent or volatile situations.

The conflation of migration for work with human trafficking prevents us from having a real conversation about the human rights and labor rights pieces of either issue.  It harms people trying to work and it makes it immensely harder to identify and to help actual victims.

The futility and ineffectiveness of trying to end an entire industry in order to find a minority of abuses cannot be overstated.  Only in vice matters have we tried this approach – with disasterous effects seen historically with alcohol prohibition and the War on Drugs.  Our valuable and scarce resources are better served by actually focusing law enforcement efforts squarely where they belong – on finding and addressing abuses, force, fraud and coercion.

By keeping sex work illegal we force the practice underground, the dangers and damages multiply, organized crime flourishes.  When people do actual research into fixing the problems associated with sex work, they overwhelmingly come to the conclusion that we should decriminalize.

SWOP stands with Amnesty International, the World Health Organization, UNAIDS, International Labour Organization, the Global Alliance Against Trafficking in Women, the Global Network of Sex Work Projects, the Global Commission on HIV and the Law, Human Rights Watch, the Open Society Foundations, Anti-Slavery International and numerous Sex Worker rights groups around the world in supporting and calling for the decriminalization of sex work.

 

    What you can do:

   *Contact your elected officials.

http://www.seattle.gov/council/

http://www.ci.bellevue.wa.us/council_overview.htm

http://www.kingcounty.gov/council.aspx

http://app.leg.wa.gov/districtfinder/

Tell them you want to help actual victims, and that the misguided approach of End Demand and Buyer Beware tactics – which include shutting down online forums – is ineffective at helping victims, while making work more dangerous for sex workers.  Ask them to listen to the proposals of Amnesty International, calling for decriminalization and sex worker involvement in all policies that affect them.

https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2015/08/sex-workers-rights-are-human-rights/
https://www.amnesty.org/en/qa-policy-to-protect-the-human-rights-of-sex-workers/

 

   *Contact news organizations. 

Tell the Seattle Times you want to hear sex worker voices represented alongside those of anti sex work groups like OPS.  Tell them OPS doesn’t represent sex workers.

*Contact news outlets like KIRO and thank them for balancing their reporting with the voices and views of actual sex workers.  Tell them to keep up the good work!

 

    *Ask all news outlets questions about what has actually happened

‘What’s happening with the women “rescued” in this raid?  Are they being connected with aid groups like API-Chaya?  Are they being given actual help?  What did they have to say for themselves?  Can you get an interview with a reporter who speaks Korean?  Are they now victims of state coercion, as they face the “options” of being deported and charged with crimes if they don’t declare themselves ‘victims’?  Are there any allegations of abuse – and if so why are there no charges on those allegations?

 

 Further reading:

**The rise of the Anti trafficking Machine:

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/30060-the-american-rescue-industry-toward-an-anti-trafficking-paramilitary

https://reason.com/blog/2015/10/15/fbi-sponsors-operation-cross-country-ix

https://reason.com/blog/2015/09/08/caveats-about-farley-johns-study

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/27298-is-the-state-of-alaska-fighting-sex-trafficking-or-targeting-women

** The Special Award for Bad Facts goes to…
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2015/12/14/the-biggest-pinocchios-of-2015/

http://www.psmag.com/politics-and-law/government-christian-lobby-quashes-real-research-on-sex-workers

**What’s wrong with the “End Demand” or Nordic Model:

http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/stuart-chambers-the-nordic-model-for-prostitution-is-not-the-solution-its-the-problem

http://time.com/3005687/what-the-swedish-model-gets-wrong-about-prostitution/

http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/jesse-kline-the-wrong-way-to-deal-with-prostitution

**On Migrant Sex Workers

http://www.migrantsexworkers.com/report.html

http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2011-10-13/what-i-learned-about-migrant-sex-workers-by-being-one-part-1-parrenas

http://www.scarletalliance.org.au/issues/migration/

Cosmopolitan Sex Workers: Women and Migration in a Global City.