Open Letter from Sex Trade Survivors
to the organizers of the Washington Women’s March
We, the undersigned, are survivors of the sex trade from many nations, including the United States. We are survivor leaders, activists and advocates. Many of us are direct service providers, working on the front lines of this issue to help people survive the sex trade and to support them in their difficult efforts to leave, should they be ready to do so.
Through our combined lived experiences, we know the sex trade to be an arena where women are regarded as non-human commodities and used and traded accordingly. Everything we have personally witnessed, including in the lives of the adults and youth who we serve, has revealed to us that the majority of those within the sex trade are female and are disproportionately of color, in poverty, are educationally disadvantaged and hail almost always from the most marginalized groups in society.
The Women’s March and its supporters are being hoodwinked into listening to the minority of those who report neutral experiences within the sex trade and are being tricked into believing that to be “pro-sex work” is a human rights approach. This is not, in fact, a human rights approach, but rather an approach which perpetuates the status quo of women as commodified goods; i.e. men’s property. It is a thoroughly anti-feminist stance.
The Women’s March was followed internationally with sister marches springing up as close as Vancouver, BC and as far away as London, England. The world looked to you for guidance and you led them astray. In your ignorance of this political issue you do not realize that “sex workers’ rights” are synonymous with “pimps’ rights”.
It is very apparent that you don’t know the so-called movement you’re supporting consider pimps ‘sex workers’ too. Don’t believe us? — We couldn’t blame you. It is thoroughly incredible. — So go and ask them. The movement you’re supporting will be happy to tell you that pimps are ‘managers’ and that since they facilitate “sex work” they’re “sex workers” too!
Ultimately what you are doing is playing into the hands of male supremacy by providing a platform for those who benefit from prostitution (sex buyers, pimps, traffickers etc) and ignoring and erasing the sex trade survivors’ movement, which exists to put an end to the wholesale dehumanization of women and girls in the global sex trade.
We urge those drafting the Women’s March policy position to educate themselves, to alter their stance on this issue, to disavow the sex trade, and to move toward a position which puts the voices of sex trade survivors front and center. We ask this in our own names, as women who survived, and in the names of those who tried to survive.
Alexandra (Sandi) Pierce
Alisa Louise Bernard
arianna di vitto
Dr Lesley Semmens
J c d
Jasmine Grace Marino
Mari íngeles Suíçrez
Nic Van Dyke
Sarah B. F.