Sex Workers

Cyntoia Brown

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When Cyntoia Brown was just 16 years old, she shot and killed a man in Tennessee who had taken her to his house for sex. She was tried as an adult on charges of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.

Learn more about Cyntoia’s story by watching the documentary Me Facing Life: Cyntoia’s Story, searching the hashtag #FreeCyntoiaBrown, or reading this article.

Your DGB for today is to contact Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, who is reviewing this case, and ask him to help Cyntoia.

https://www.tn.gov/governor/contact-us.html

FOSTA/SESTA

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Your DGB for today is to support sex workers by signing this online petition to repeal FOSTA/SESTA.

FOSTA/SESTA is a set of bills, signed into law last month, that look good on the surface. The legislation is an attempt to fight sex trafficking by making websites such as Craigslist, where trafficking is often organized/solicited, responsible for the crime. The hope is that this will make it much harder for sex traffickers to do business as platforms and sites censor themselves in order to avoid trouble. However, sex workers say the legislation is fatally flawed because it doesn’t distinguish between consensual sex work and sex trafficking. In making the internet less hospitable for sex traffickers, it also pushes sex workers off-line and onto the streets. “When they’re forced onto the streets to find clients, sex workers have fewer advance safety precautions in place, no ability to effectively pre-screen clients, and no way to ensure that they work in safe, secure locations.” https://www.vox.com/culture/2018/4/13/17172762/fosta-sesta-backpage-230-internet-freedom In addition, many - including our own DOJ - argue that the bill won’t even help the victims of trafficking to begin with.

As Aviva Dove-Viebahn said in Ms. magazine, “Even if our opinions on the sex work industry diverge, we can all agree that being a sex worker–whether by choice, circumstance or force–should not disqualify someone from basic human dignity, care and respect.” In light of this, repealing these flawed bills is the sanest choice.

 

“The President and the Porn Star”

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Your DGB for today is to think twice about how you talk about Stephanie Clifford, aka Stormy Daniels, and to support sex workers’ rights.

By now you’ve all heard the breathless news coverage of “the President and the PORN STAR!!!11!!!one!” Stephanie Clifford, a human woman, has been reduced to the punchline of a snickering joke. The implication is that it’s bad enough POTUS had an affair, but an affair with a “porn star” is even more shocking, demeaning, or distasteful. This attitude represents a mixture of misogyny and classism, with a sprinkle of Puritanism on top. Bottom line - if we’re feminists or womanists, if we believe that  “women’s rights are human rights,” then we need to show up for our sex worker sisters, too.

One way to do that is to stop participating in the dialogue that shames Stephanie Clifford for her job, that treats her like a joke, that implies Clifford’s work makes Trump’s infidelity somehow worse. Call out journalists and activists for their stereotyping, shaming, and bias. Another way is to support sex workers’ rights. For a gold star in allyship, support legislation that decriminalizes sex work.

And if you want to see what an unapologetic badass looks like, follow Clifford on Twitter. You will not be disappointed: @StormyDaniels.