An impressively coherent resolution on the decriminalisation of prostitution and sex work has come from the Society for the Study of Social Problems, which aims to promote and protect sociological research and teaching on significant problems of social life. They took this resolution in early October, which is written for the US context – one of the world’s hardest for people who sell sex. So despite the horrible reductionism and man-hating from people like Melissa Farley and Swanee Hunt, some mainstream folks understand the difficult complexity of this social problem and how to begin breaking it down: how pleasing.
WHEREAS the criminalization of prostitution and other forms of sex work negotiated between consenting adults perpetuates violence and social stigma against sex workers, including by law enforcement, and prevents trafficked individuals from seeking medical care or protection from law enforcement and holding custody of their children; and represents one of the most direct forms of discrimination against women, trans individuals, and other gender minorities;
WHEREAS the criminalization of prostitution and other forms of sex work denies sex workers basic human and civil rights, including healthcare and housing, extended to workers in other trades, occupations, callings, or professions;
WHEREAS the decriminalization of prostitution would lead to safer working conditions and better health for both the worker and client, and allow workers to report nonconsensual activities to law enforcement without fear of being arrested;
WHEREAS the decriminalization of sex work would allow sex workers to enjoy their lives and livelihood without having to hide, and thereby seek and receive the same legal protections enjoyed by workers in other trades, work, occupations, or professions against crimes such as sexual harassment, sexual abuse, and rape;
AND BE IT RESOLVED that the Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP) supports occupational support and sexual self-determination for adults engaged in sex work;
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that non-consenting adults and all trafficked children forced into sexual activity (commercial or otherwise) deserve the full protection of the law and perpetrators deserve the full punishment by the law;
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the SSSP supports international AIDS relief that allows access to reproductive health for sex workers and renounces anti-prostitution legislation such as the APLO, or Anti-Prostitution Loyalty Oath, which prevents U.S. aid from being allocated to health organizations that provide medical support for sex workers;
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the SSSP supports non-profit organizations that supply housing and other resources to trafficked individuals in the sex industry without mandatory, moralistic, ‘therapy’ or diversion programs;
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the SSSP supports: (1) bipartisan legislation to decriminalize prostitution (2) public education regarding the costs of policing sex workers and (3) normalization of the occupation.
–Laura Agustín, the Naked Anthropologist