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International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers

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When I took a look at my Twitter feed this morning, I discovered that December 17th was International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. The following links are relevant to that event:


From Violet McLean, writer and sex worker: I love sex workers because there’s that thing that happens when we’re together, you know the thing, the shorthand, the non-withholding, the relief. There is less filtering, less censoring, more breathing, more laughing. I love sex workers because they have been my most loyal and bravest friends. When I fell for a client (not recommended), sex workers were there to love me through it and gently nudge me towards healthier ways of working. When I was a young fool they were there in equal measure for episodes of hedonism, self-destruction, and rebirth. They’ve made me a better person by consistently, and in intangible ways civilians have not/cannot, reflected back to me the most whole and compassionate parts of myself. They’ve been there when I’ve been excited about making a new female civilian friend only to hear her derisively say some version of: I don’t take my clothes off for a living. They’ve been tolerant when I bitch about my job like it’s a 9-5, and also when I’ve felt transcendentally and annoyingly happy with my work. They have held me through so much. Junot Diaz said once in a lecture, “I was taught the only place I could be vulnerable was in a woman’s bed.” We (most of us women both cis and trans) do this for our clients (most of them men). On our best days we do it for each other, too.


French police arrest and brutalize sex worker activist Thierry Schaffauser - On December 16th, around midnight, Thierry Schaffauser, founding member of STRASS, was distributing leaflets and condoms when he was arrested on the Barbès Boulevard, Paris in the 18th district.


He was accused of having spoken to a sex worker.


Two plainclothes police officers then committed acts of violence against him including strangulation and suffocation. He was handcuffed, with his hands in the back, and taken to the police station of La Goute d’Or without being notified of the reasons for his arrest and without being able to request the assistance of a lawyer. The sex worker he was talking to and gave condoms to was also arrested and taken to the same police station.


Homophobic and racist remarks were made during the arrest, including “it is because of people like you that mamas bring in African women for prostitution in France”.


In 2014, Zi Teng (Hong Kong sex worker advocacy group) received 341 complaints from sex workers about abuse by police; 187 about abuse by clients.

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