We oppose anti-sex work vigilantism

Photo by Steve Rhodes of International Day To End Violence Against Sex Workers 2010, via Flickr and the Creative Commons.

The Massachusetts Pirate Party (MAPP) is highly critical of recent efforts launched against massage parlors and spas by a group calling itself Organizing Neighbors to End Exploitation, done in the name of “fighting human trafficking”. As well-intentioned as these efforts may be, they are clearly ill-informed and only serve to perpetuate marginalization based on race and immigration status.

These efforts are further complicated by their reliance on questionable information provided by the Polaris Project, an organization which claims to educate and mobilize citizens against sex trafficking, but in actuality conflates trafficking with consensual sex work, proposing measures which jeopardizes the safety and well-being of sex workers based on flawed data and vague presumptions.

While the MAPP condemns human trafficking, we oppose misinformed vigilantism and excessive use of carceral methods to address this problem, especially when they undermine human rights and jeopardize the safety and well-being of sex workers. We propose that law enforcement consult with sex worker organizations such as SWOP-USA and Desiree Alliance, and responsible anti-trafficking organizations such as Freedom Network USA. Additionally, we call for a moratorium on arrests involving consensual sex work, as a step towards the long-term goal of full decriminalization.

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