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Sex Workers Meet in Los Angeles To Draft Statement of Principles

A new manifesto calls for sex-worker rights.

In late June, members and supporters of Desiree Alliance, a sex work advocacy organization, gathered in the Los Angeles office of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to begin organizing for the legalization of sex work. The event featured nearly a dozen sex workers, including adult actress and Los Angeles-based sex work activist, Siouxsie Q.

Attendees at the meeting drafted a manifesto called the National Sex Worker Anti-Criminalization Principles, which author and escort Maggie McNeill described as a document designed to "provide a working template for a national platform" for sex-worker rights.

In the one-page manifesto, they offer recommendations for both sex workers and those not in the profession. Recommendations include respecting the expertise and experience of sex workers and allowing sex workers to maintain their own health. The manifesto also demands that sex workers be granted certain rights such as choosing their own sexual relationships and guaranteeing full access to social, medical, and justice services without discrimination.

"We're national voices, and we came together with a collective mission to put forth a statement of how we are to be interacted with," said Cris Sardina, director of the Desiree Alliance. "And that was accomplished today."

Sex work advocates hope their manifesto can tackle a host of issues, including concerns about FOSTA/SESTA legislation, which restricts their ability to advertise their services online; building a coalition of former and current sex workers to speak of their experiences; and pushing back against anti-sex work advocates conflating consensual sex work with "sex trafficking."

There are clear parallels between the statement and the Denver Principles, published nearly three decades ago by HIV-positive gay men organizing a response to the AIDS crisis. The Denver Principles offered recommendations such as supporting HIV-positive people in the struggle against firings, evictions, and stigmatization while pushing for privacy rights and equal access to healthcare. Many LGBT scholars and activists cite the Denver Principles as a major blow to the stigmatization of persons with HIV/AIDS.

Photo Credit: msmornington/flickr

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  • Citizen X||

    "Desiree Alliance" sounds like the stage name of someone who dances at BEEF.

  • BearOdinson||

    For the record, I am entirely for legalization of sex workers.

    But, there is a problem here:

    The manifesto also demands that sex workers be granted certain rights such as choosing their own sexual relationships

    You can't discriminate based on sexual preference. So if a lesbian comes in but the working girl is straight, cunnilingus it is!

    And what about a male escort. A gay man must be given the same service. After all, it is public accommodation!

  • StackOfCoins||

    I know you're being sarcastic, but I'd just like to chime in and mention that in my, erm, RESEARCH of sex work, that many escorts will not service black men. I've even been asked to provide a photo of myself (IN THE COURSE OF IMPARTIAL RESEARCH) to prove my white privilege. Line 4-a therefore could be seen as enabling sex workers to discriminate against black bodies.

    I'm fairly certain a masseuse cannot decline to massage black people, so if we're going to codify the rules here, anti-discrimination will have to be written into the laws.

  • StackOfCoins||

    4-a
    I was mistaken, it was line 4-c that is problematic.

  • Iheartskeet||

    Yup, much as I also am pro-legalization of sex work, they may not quite realize what being "legal" means in all of its implications. They WON'T be able to discriminate based on race or sex, despite the, uh, intimate nature of the services. FWIW, I think sex workers, and frankly anyone in a non-governmental role, should be able to discriminate base don whatever they want, much as I may find it repugnant.

  • JeremyR||

    There was a porn star driven to suicide by the SJW mob because she refused to do porn with bisexual man who had done gay porn (fearing she might get AIDS from them)

  • StackOfCoins||

    "In the one-page manifesto"

    Did any of these people write a paper in high school? You need to pad your essay a little if anyone's going to take it seriously. It's probably not even double-spaced.

  • ||

    Recommendations include respecting the expertise and experience of sex workers

    Go fuck yourselve... I... I mean, carry on.

  • Longtobefree||

    They have to right to be labeled as human traffickers and locked up forever.
    What do you think this is, a free country?

  • Echo Chamber||

    "There are clear parallels between the statement and the Denver Principles"

    Splitters!

  • ||

    Just imagine it! A decade from now prostitutes will be free from the persecution of their station in life the same way gay men are now free from HIV/AIDS!

  • lulz farmer||

    They're now free to spread AIDS. In California, that is.

  • Juice||

    Looks like they squeezed "rights" in there at the last minute.

  • ||

    It actually looks like the used a different font for 'workers rights'.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    we came together with a collective mission to put forth a statement of how we are to be interacted with

    First on the docket: from today forward, "smelly pirate hooker" is not an acceptable pronoun.

  • Citizen X||

    we came together with a collective mission to put forth a statement of how we are to be interacted with

    Answered and then asked.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    I have a soft spot in my heart for poorly planned protest banners.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I demand kerning rights.

  • Citizen X||

    That T almost didn't make it onto the banner at all.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    WE DEMAND SEX

    WORKERS RIGHTS!

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    Desiree Alliance

    Moar like Corvée Alliance, huh?

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    In all seriousness, it's going to be hilarious when 25 to 50 years from now, leftist opposition to "late capitalist patriarchal exploitation of brown bodies" and persecution of mostly-white-cishet-male johns causes the ideological acolytes of Jordan Peterson and Stephen Bannon to turn this into a right-wing campaign.

  • lulz farmer||

    Imagine thinking you're going to have a recognizable civilization when things get to that point and the demographics are such that there are way more takers than producers.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    That does sound pretty awful.

  • ||

    Recommendations include respecting the expertise and experience of sex workers

    If I really wanted to respect the woman I was fucking, I'd go get married.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    Have you actually tried marriage? Just asking.

  • ||

    Of course, my wife would've gotten the joke.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    No young girl ever dreams of growing up to become a prostitute. If there was ever a justification for the nanny state, that has to be it.

  • StackOfCoins||

    What young boy grows up dreaming of being an incel?

    Not only should we legalize sex work, there should be a national lottery to award incels vouchers for free service.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    Good perspective. It would also go a ways toward preventing random violence on a part of said incels. I suspect most mass/school shooters fall into that category.

  • Citizen X||

    No, no vouchers for incels. You don't get a taxpayer subsidy for being unwilling to lower your standards to what your looks and personality can afford.

  • Archibald Baal||

    I thought of that, too, but I don't think incels actually want the sex, I think they want the ego boost that goes along with it... "an attractive chick wants ME". While I suspect many of these guys are capable enough of self-deception to pretend otherwise, I'm sure a moderately moistened orifice* will not satisfy most incels and they'll change their narrative to fit the new situation so they can continue whining about it with fervor.

    *Whose nickname was that in college?

  • Eman||

    This seems like a singularly terrible time for prostitutes to start whining. The ease of access to and sheer amount of porn online has got to be cutting pretty deeply into their market share.

  • jdgalt1||

    Maggie McNeill. Not O'Neill.

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