Not long ago, most porn stars, escorts, strippers and cam-girls wouldn’t feel comfortable entering the political scuffle. But thanks to a confluence of factors — including Stormy Daniels, arguably the world’s most famous sex worker, making herself a symbol of the anti-Trump resistance — the sex-work community has become America’s newest niche political bloc.

Though the movement has been happening for decades, even centuries, explains community organizer Lola Balcon, it’s taken hold in recent years in part as a result of long-term de-stigmatization efforts from human rights groups including Amnesty International, which recommended the decriminalization of sex work in 2016. But it wasn’t until the passage of the so-called Online Trafficking bill SESTA-FOSTA last spring that many workers began to organize locally, forming grassroots coalitions not just to oppose the bill but also to support sex work decriminalization efforts more broadly.

“We have a lot at stake right now. The political climate is unpredictable and volatile,” says Christa Daring, the executive director of Sex Workers Outreach Project USA, a nonprofit aimed at supporting sex workers and campaigning for the decriminalization of sex work. “SESTA-FOSTA didn’t make prostitution any more illegal than it was before, but it made a lot of people’s lives a lot harder and it really threw into stark contrast the amount of criminalization that people were facing.”

 

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Are Sex Workers becoming a viable political bloc? by Jennifer Swann

Nov. 24th, 2018