TRB, Sex Worker Solidarity, and a Call to Action

“If there’s one thing we can learn from history, it’s that if a sufficient number of men call you a crazy whore, you’re on the right track.” -Unknown

 

Many of you may have wondered where I have been for the past 56 hours. I have seem to drop off the face of social media. Well that is because I, and a group of amazing ladies from the Sex Workers Outreach Project, have been focusing our energy on more traditional media!

Here is the article with my statement!

And here is the most honestly written article I have seen so far.

At 1:00pm on January 6th the Bellevue Police Department, with the help of the FBI, King County Sheriff’s Department, and the King County prosecutor’s office shut down the site TheReviewBoard.net. This site was not only an advertising resource for Seattle escorts, it was a way to connect with the community as a whole. It was used to screen clients and keep the ladies safe.

I, along with representatives from SWOP, showed up at the press conference held at Seattle City Hall. We were barred from entering but we stuck around outside to talk to media. We were given copies of the official statements while we waited.

As of last night there have been 11 arrests of clients who were associated with websites known as “The League” and “kgirldelights”. The Review Board got shut down by association, due to some crossover of key members. The Police Department is claiming they are not arresting the Korean women involved in this debacle, yet no word from these ladies has emerged. I, for one, am hesitant to believe anything in the official statement without hearing from these women myself. If these women are trafficking victims, or if they are victims of the conflation of foreign women participating in sex work and xenophobic trafficking laws, hearing their stories will help us work towards making sex work safer for everyone.

This conflation of trafficking and immigration has infected our justice system. Last December a K-pop band was detained at LAX for 15 hours because they were suspected to be trafficking victims. These trafficking laws are harming minorities attempting to migrate here, not protecting trafficking victims.

Additionally, whether or not this sting “saved” any women, it did harm to 100s of others. Shutting down Seattle’s largest outlet for Sex Workers to communicate and advertise is cutting off the livelihood and safety for them all. With this board coming down there are a lot of Sex Workers who are going to have trouble paying rent this month. Many of these Sex Workers are going to end up on the street. Without a way to advertise, and with clients getting spooked these women may loose their livelihood.

It is sad this has all happened so soon after Amnesty International came out in support of decimalization of sex work. Our movement is gaining powerful allies, now we must work together to continue the momentum.

When giving interviews yesterday I only identified myself as someone in the sex industry. I refused to draw a line between escorting, porn, dancing, camming, and anything else in this expansive world. We are all Sex Workers. This is not the time to draw arbitrary lines between us. This stigma, this criminalization is affecting us all. We need to band together as one large sexy community to take a stand. We cannot let our brothers and sisters lose their livelihoods because of our “evil sex rays”. Whether we are standing in solidarity for porn stars facing unbelievable prejudice when seeking an education, or reaching out to help a Sex Worker who saved countless lives by taking down a serial killer  we all need to realize we are interconnected.   We are not fighting dozens of little battles; we are fighting a war. Against stigma, criminalization, and suppression of women’s rights to sexual agency.

So join me, whether you are a escort, dancer, or maybe just someone who supports women and their ownership over their own sexuality. Find your local SWOP chapter, take to social media, even to the dreaded comment sections of the Internet. Let our declarations be heard. Let them know they can no longer drown out our voices with the sound of sirens.

If you’re a Seattle local I urge you to stay calm. The sting is over and those who the police can get to have already been brought in. This tragedy has shaken us all up, but please understand the impact your actions will have from here on out. We need to stand together and show a united front in the face of persecution.

There is not a single social justice movement throughout history that was easy. It may take years, generations even, to achieve safety for all aspects of our industry but it will happen, because we will fight to make it so.

 

Beyond our ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing,

there is a field. I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,

the world is too full to talk about.

Ideas, language, even the phrase ‘each other’

doesn’t make sense any more.”

― Rumi

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