Sex Workers Are Human Resources

JAN 10 • Thank you so much for your fair and balanced coverage of the 15th Annual IDTEVASW. Since 2012 SWOP and SAFE have strived to stand up and speak out in Philly on issues specific to stigma and gratuitous violence against sex workers. Folks are always amazed at how hard and painful this event is to do, yet in the end how truly blessed we are to be able to come together to do it. Many households in most areas of Greater Philadelphia, if not all of PA, are touched somehow by this issue. Talking about sex work and prostitution is hard. Living in shame and silence is harder. D/17 is not fun, though it is full of love. Truly. We are here because we have been there, and we care. Our voice is their voice. Thank you for covering the memorial. Words cannot even express the gratitude I feel right now. Philly is proving we got LOVE!

IDTEVASW 2018

The date of December 17th was selected for the observance because it was on that date in 2003 that Gary Leon Ridgeway, the notorious Green River Killer,  was sentenced for his crimes. “Between July of 1982 and January of 1998 Ridgeway was responsible for the deaths of dozens of women and girls in King County, Washington, the county that includes the cities of Seattle and Tacoma. Many of his victims were prostitutes and others marginalized by society, such as runaways. Ridgeway was sentenced to 48 consecutive life terms for his crimes plus 480 additional years; a plea agreement eliminated the possibility of the death penalty. The first International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers was observed on the day he was sentenced and utilized art as sublimation through the conflicting emotions of relief, grief, anger and fear.

The Red Sand Project

At the intersectionality of sex work and trafficking are the people who lived it and no longer fit any of the definitions others are creating except by saying: We too are here. 
Photo of Mistress Lilith, Miss Gabrielle Monroe and M. Dante sharing some love taken by Blind Filmmaker David Block at the 15th Annual International Day To End Violence Against Sex Workers (IDTEVASW) at Thomas Paine Plaza Philadelphia.

Donate Your Bras For Survivors Empowerment

This October, Rigby & Peller is proud to support Free the Girls, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides job opportunities for survivors of sex trafficking in developing countries. Gently used bras are collected* and donated to these women as starting inventory for their own business selling bras. Through the collection of bras in Western countries, Free the Girls is able to educate people and organizations about human trafficking issues globally. *Boutique exclusive event, store credit earned can be used in boutiques only.

Instrument of Crime: Condoms, Prostitution, Prosecutors and Public Safety in Pennsylvania

Instrument of Crime: Condoms, Prostitution, Prosecutors and Public Safety in Pennsylvania Philadelphia Convention Center 106AB Presentation: Friday 10/5/2018 10:45 AM Outlawed in California, New York, and Washington D.C., since 2012 Pennsylvania prosecutors have been using Comstock Act era tactics in an effort to detain prostitutes to combat trafficking. Is charging individuals for Instruments of Crime (IOC) effective policing tactic in ending human trafficking; or is contributing to challenges in addressing important public health risks surrounding HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, and sexually transmitted diseases? Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are combining forces for important advocacy work to draw attention to these practices.

Advocates for Sex Workers Send Open Letter to Allegheny District Attorney Stephen Zappala Opposing Criminalization of Condom Possession

The letter notes that criminalizing condoms “has a chilling effect on Pittsburghers' willingness to carry and use condoms, especially those who are most vulnerable to contracting HIV/AIDS and other STIs including women and men of color, LGBTQ people, young people, victims of trafficking, and people in the sex trades.”


Dear District Attorney Zappala

The Sex Worker’s Outreach Project (SWOP) Pittsburgh is disappointed in the District Attorney Zappala’s response to the open letter we and several other organizations (including ACLU of Pennsylvania, Women's Law Project, #SurvivorsAgainstSESTA and Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania) opposing several practice that endanger the citizens of Allegheny County: 1.) police and prosecutors’ practice of citing condom possession as evidence of intent to engage in prostitution-related crimes, 2.) police seizure of condoms and other contraceptives, and 3.) the practice of adding the more severe possessing-instrument-of-crime (“PIC”) charges under 18 Pa.C.S. § 907 when defendants are charged with prostitution.

Collateral Damage: Aussies Impacted By US FOSTA/SESTA

The Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) passed Congress and was signed into law by US President Donald Trump back in April. It was intended to target websites hosting ads for illegal sex services, such as Craigslist, Backpage and Cracker. But the same websites are used by legitimate, adult, consenting sex workers all over the world, including in Australia. Sex workers here were bracing for the impact of an effective ban on advertising, and for many the financial losses have surpassed their worst expectations.

Pa Sen. Bob Casey’s letter for Workers/Survivors to understand the FOSTA/SESTA facts

Senator Rob Portman of Ohio introduced S. 1693, the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act of 2017, on August 1, 2017. The legislation amends Section 230 to ensure that those who run sites that knowingly facilitate sex trafficking can be held accountable for their actions in civil or criminal court. Representative Ann Wagner of Missouri introduced H.R. 1865, the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) on April 3, 2017. This bill imposes criminal penalties on a person who facilitates sex trafficking in interstate commerce.  

Why Sex Workers are Fighting the Anti-Sex Trafficking Bill

Guest post by collaborators: M. Dante, Lola Li, and Heather Berg. On March 12th, the Senate votes on SESTA, the Stop Enabling Sex Trafficking Act. SESTA would criminalize the online advertising, information sharing, and support networks that sex workers use to do their jobs safely. Readers can support the #LetUsSurvive campaign by calling their Senators. WE ARE: #SurvivorsAgainstSESTA

Understanding SESTA & FOSTA

Understanding FOSTA & SESTA. PDF (c) Reframe Health & Justice RHJ 2018 The Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA, H.R. 1865) might sound noble, but it would do nothing to stop sex traffickers. What it would do is force online platforms to police their users’ speech more forcefully than ever before, silencing legitimate voices in the process. - EFF

HIV & Solitary Confinement: CJ Palmer

On the 19th of January, 2018, CJ Palmer, a trans woman and former sex worker was charged with causing grievous bodily harm in relation to the alleged transmission of HIV to her ex-partner. CJ has been remanded in a maximum-security male prison in Western Australia where she has already spent over 9 months while awaiting her trial. Her sentence will also be served in a male prison. As a woman in a maximum security male prison, CJ is forced to stay in isolation in a cell by herself in the Crisis Care Unit.