Activist Wish List

I started this list on the bus when I first moved to L.A. It’s essentially the things I’d love to be able to do with SWOP assuming we had unlimited resources, including time and people dedicated to making it work. It’s a lot, and some of it is currently illegal, and some of it might never happen, but I think it’s important to keep these visions in mind. And as new ideas develop I’ll add them or expand on them. But this is what I’m imagining right now, and please leave more ideas in the comments! Dream big!

  • Shelter space for temporary housing for sex workers in danger
  • Job workshops- for both how to do your job safely, and well, if you’re in the sex industry as well as “straight” jobs people might be interested in transitions to. This includes skillshares for organizers.
  • Transition workshops for sex workers who want to quit – what to expect, how to deal with the sudden paychecks, similarities between different industries, how to get started after having worked in a different environment for a long time, ect.
  • Transition workshops for people interested in getting into the sex industry – what to expect, how to deal with the sudden difference in paychecks, similarities between different industries, how to get started after having worked in a different environment for a long time ect.
  • Safety training – including client screening, self defense, choosing an agency, physical safety on the job, avoiding cuts/bruises, ect.
  • Contacts in clubs/bars where sex workers find jobs, including strip clubs, hotels, brothels, to help ensure safe and fair working conditions
  • Buddy systems for people who work independently, someone to call and check in, emergency contacts, ect.
  • Legal resources
  • Day care resources
  • Addiction resources – maybe partner with some recovery centers for mutual referrals for those who want it
  • Psychological help/referrals/medication funding for those who need it
  • Community outreach – if we’re going to change people’s minds about sex work we’re going to have to make an extra effort to show them that we’re a part of their community, and in a good way. To me this is going to mean extra help for anti-poverty groups, drug recovery programs to bust the stereotype of the “2 dolla crack ho” and ESPECIALLY a major effort against sex trafficking. Given the tenor of most anti-trafficking organizations that’s going to be difficult, but if we show coercion into sex work as a larger problem connected to pimps/poverty/desperation/slavery and less about sex work itself we could be major players in that discussion as we should be.
  • Relationships with police – imagine if police would refer people interested in getting out of sex work to a supportive, helpful environment instead of a shaming and sometimes actively harmful one. Or if we knew officers who could help women when they were arrested and make the process as smooth as possible. Or if we knew officers we could trust to call when sex workers were raped or assaulted! I have no idea how to go about cultivating these relationships, but I know there must be a way.
  • Educational workshops – reading groups, teaching political and literary theory, history of sex work, history of activism, taking lessons from the queer movement (and others), film screenings, teaching our own college seminars… this would be super fun
  • Porn partners – how’s this for a fundraising idea: porn! If we got a couple production companies to show that activism and rights for sex workers is sexy! Again, I’m not sure how the logistics would work, but I think it would be pretty damn cool.
  • STI resources
  • Health resources – for various non sex related health ailments, or workshops on how to go about getting health insurance
  • Queer community outreach
  • Scholarships
  • Computer lab – a place where workers without computers or internet access could come and still work independently without turning to street work, including resources to help screen clients and advertise, not to mention internet access is an essential element of contemporary activism and it would be nice for that not to be so exclusionary
  • Library
  • Prison resources
  • Constant dance parties
  • Dismantling all forms of oppression, ever

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