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5 must-read resources that'll change the way you think about sex work

If you're interested in human rights, these should come in handy.

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Open Society Foundations

Interested in learning more about the fight for decriminalizing sex work but don't know where to start?

I've been there. For the years I've been writing about social and cultural issues, one topic consistently flew under my radar: sex work. As I'm neither a sex worker nor part of the industry's clientele, I was pretty ignorant on the subject as a whole.

In the past year or so, I've become more interested in the topic from a human rights point of view. With the help of some informed friends, I wanted to share five of my favorite resources on the topic below.


1. The Red Umbrella Project's website and journal

The Red Umbrella Project (RedUP) is a Brooklyn-based organization dedicated to the welfare of sex workers. From their website:

"We strive to build the capacities of people in the sex trades both as individuals and as a community, so that we can engage in debates about issues that affect us and make positive changes both on personal and political levels. Because of the stigma, discrimination, and violence our community faces there are major barriers to our participation in civic and political life. We create programming that supports the development of skills, confidence, and political analysis among our members so that they can better navigate social and economic justice issues."

RedUP's literary journal, "Prose & Lore," is a great read that features stories from the perspective of the workers themselves.

2. Melinda Chateauvert's anthology "Sex Workers Unite"

Chateauvert's "Sex Workers Unite" is an anthology covering the past 50 years of sex-work activism, focusing on how the fight for sex-workers' rights intersects with other movements (such as gay rights, civil rights, labor, and reproductive rights).


This book is worth reading if you're mostly interested in learning more about why it's important that we all fight for the rights of sex workers.

3. Sex Workers Outreach Project, an advocacy organization

At its core, the Sex Workers Outreach Project is an education-based advocacy organization aimed at putting an end to the stigma and violence sex workers face. Its website is a great place to stop by for some basic Sex Work 101 information.


How can you be a good ally to sex workers? SWOP has an entire page of info just for that.

4. Tits and Sass, a website known for keeping things real

When it comes to keeping up with current events that might affect the sex-worker community, Tits and Sass is an awesome site to check for information. While mainstream press has a tendency to sanitize or otherwise skew news about the sex-work industry, you'll find the whole story here.

For example, Tara Burns' feature on Alaska's case against Amber Batts is great reading you won't find anywhere else.

5. Melissa Gira Grant's book "Playing the Whore"

Melissa Gira Grant is one of the (if not the) world's premier journalists covering issues affecting sex workers. She's the author of the 2014 book "Playing the Whore: The Work of Sex Work," and her writing has appeared everywhere from The New York Times to The Guardian to The Atlantic.

Here she is giving a talk titled "The End of the American Red Light District" at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society. It's lengthy but worth a watch for anyone interested in learning more about the history of sex work in America.

You can read an excerpt of "Playing the Whore" here.

The media doesn't often take into account the lived experiences of sex workers. As people. Let's change that.

Health

A child’s mental health concerns shouldn’t be publicized no matter who their parents are

Even politicians' children deserve privacy during a mental health crisis.

A child's mental health concerns shouldn't be publicized.

Editor's Note: If you are having thoughts about taking your own life, or know of anyone who is in need of help, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a United States-based suicide prevention network of over 200+ crisis centers that provides 24/7 service via a toll-free hotline with the number 9-8-8. It is available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.


It's an unspoken rule that children of politicians should be off limits when it comes to public figure status. Kids deserve the ability to simply be kids without the media picking them apart. We saw this during Obama's presidency when people from both ends of the political spectrum come out to defend Malia and Sasha Obama's privacy and again when a reporter made a remark about Barron Trump.

This is even more important when we are talking about a child's mental health, so seeing detailed reports about Ted Cruz's 14-year-old child's private mental health crisis was offputting, to say it kindly. It feels icky for me to even put the senator's name in this article because it feels like adding to this child's exposure.

When a child is struggling with mental health concerns, the instinct should be to cocoon them in safety, not to highlight the details or speculate on the cause. Ever since the news broke about this child's mental health, social media has been abuzz, mostly attacking the parents and speculating if the child is a member of the LGBTQ community.

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There is a lot of mistrust surrounding the implementation of artificial intelligence these days and some of it is justified. There's reason to worry that deep-fake technology will begin to seriously blur the line between fantasy and reality, and people in a wide range of industries are concerned AI could eliminate their jobs.

Artists and writers are also bothered that AI works on reappropriating existing content for which the original creators will never receive compensation.

The World Economic Forum recently announced that AI and automation are causing a huge shake-up in the world labor market. The WEF estimates that the new technology will supplant about 85 million jobs by 2025. However, the news isn’t all bad. It also said that its analysis anticipates the “future tech-driven economy will create 97 million new jobs.”

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This article originally appeared on 04.15.19


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