Sex work: Solidarity not salvation
Date Written: 05/06/2012
Year Published: 2012
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX19496
An ongoing debate is taking place in anarchist and feminist circles on the legitimacy of sex work and the rights of sex workers. The two main schools of thought are almost at polar opposites of each other. On the one side you have the abolitionist approach led by feminists, such as Melissa Farley who maintains that sex work is a form of violence against women. Farley has said that "If we view prostitution as violence against women, it makes no sense to legalize or decriminalize prostitution." On the other side you have sex worker rights activists who view sex work as being much closer to work in general than most realize, who believe that the best way forward for sex workers is in the fight for workers' rights and social acceptance and for activists to listen to what sex workers have to say. In this article I will discuss why the abolitionist approach discriminates against sex workers and takes advantage of their marginalized status, while the rights approach offer the opportunity to make solid differences in the labour rights and human rights of sex workers.