The Rentboy Raid Intensifies The Urgency To Decriminalize Sex Work And Sex Workers
Lambda Legal, Transgender Law Center, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLADD), National Center for Lesbian Rights, and the National Center for Transgender Equality issued a joint statement of support for the Amnesty International’s resolution supporting the human rights for sex workers on August 20, 2015.
Four days later was the raid on Rentboy and the seizing of the website. The push back against the onerous timing and targeting of the raid have been sharp. It fed off the existing calls for the decriminalization of sex work and amplified them. It prompted The Daily Beast to ask Will the RentBoy.com Bust Be the ‘Stonewall’ of Sex Work? For now, we can only hope.
The five LGBT rights groups came out in support of the Amnesty resolution in recognition of the unique role sex work has in our community. 40% of homeless youth are LGBT. Sex for survival – trading a tryst for a meal or a bed for the night – is sometimes the only option they have on any given day. This makes them particularity vulnerable to exploitation since they have no legal recourse of their own.
Trans women report securing traditional employment is exponentially more difficult and at times, impossible. 1% of cisgender women enage in sex work compared to 11% of Trans women.
Too often, criminalization hurts the ostensible victims of the sex industry: vulnerable, poor, exploited people, disproportionately women (both cisgender and transgender). ~The Daily Beast
Criminalization means sex workers are needlessly handicapped negotiating their own limits and boundaries. They can not call the cops on the client who refuses to wear a condom. Or pulls a gun. Or makes other demands the worker is not comfortable with … or safe around. It limits sex workers access to medical care and law enforcement. This artifical underworld fosters money laundering, human trafficking, the drug trade and exploitation.
18 trans women have been murdered this year. Trans women are sent to men’s prisons. They do even worse there then in “polite” society. LGBT people in general, and especially those of color, are more likely to be profiled as sex workers and prosecuted as such whether they are or not. Once that happens, and it does, the LGBT community is particularly vulnerable inside the penal system. It’s cyclical and its vicious.
“Decriminalization of sex work does not mean the total absence of any regulation of sex work. Rather, it means that any regulation must be focused on respecting and protecting sex workers’ human rights.” ~Think Progress
Whether by choice or circumstances, some people engage in sex work. Whether by choice or circumstances, some people hire in sex workers. The goal of decriminalization is simple: to remove the illegality from sex work arranged between two consenting adults.
People become and people hire sex workers for many reasons. Not everyone falls in love and lives happily ever after regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation. Since no website seizure is going to end to world’s oldest profession, it’s long past the time that society should recognize that and treat it as one.
The Human Side of Sex Work: A Video Exploration