Speak Up! Media Training Materials as PDF

speakupcover On April 18, 2009 Sex Work Awareness had our first Speak Up! Media Training for the Empowered Sex Worker in New York City. All the attendees got to take home a big packet of training materials, and now we’re making that 45 page manual available to the public with a Creative Commons license.

Here are some of the subjects covered in the PDF:

    • Typical variations of mainstream media stories about the sex industry
    • Deciding to be part of a story
    • Crafting your message
    • Interview tips and tricks
    • Writing press releases, letters to the editor, and op-eds
    • Strategies for events and earned media
    • New media best practices and took kits

The manual also includes lots and lots of examples of both mainstream media and content produced by sex workers.

Click the cover image above to download!

Is there something you’d like to learn more about? Are you a sex worker support organization that is in the midst of a media onslaught? Think your community could benefit from a media training workshop? Get in touch with us.

And also, I tweaked the Sex Work Awareness website:
Sex Work Awareness

 

And added an email list to the mix. Check out what the first email announcement looks like here and then sign up if it strikes your fancy.

Sex Workers, Resistance, and the Media Panel at NYC Grassroots Media Conference 5/30

grassroots

Join us at the 6th Annual Conference:HOPE to ACTION
Saturday, May 30, 2009

9am-6pm: Hunter College, 68th St & Lexington Ave

Registration is now open — save cash, register early! 

Sex Workers, Resistance, and the Media panel/workshop

Sex workers are frequently maligned and misrepresented in the mainstream media, where stories are most often about scandals, busts, violence, health and safety risks, exploitation, legislation, and moral judgment. This panel of present and former sex workers who are activists and media makers will address the ways we are represented in mainstream media and what sex workers and their allies can do to challenge and remake the way we are perceived. We will present media projects created by sex workers and discuss challenges encountered in the process of distribution and building an audience for our work. The workshop will conclude with making a short PSA video about how sex workers and allies can work together.

Audacia Ray is a media maker and activist who is passionate about sexual rights, and is the author of Naked on the Internet. Audacia is a former sex worker who was an editor at $pread magazine who co-founded the advocacy and support organization Sex Work Awareness. Dacia has been writing her personal blog, Waking Vixen, since 2004.

Megan Andelloux works as a board certified sexual educator , sexual rights activist and author in the book: We Got Issues! She is the founder of a Sexual Resource Center, located in Providence, RI where she hosts workshops, speakers, and activist events related to sex positive issues. Check out her website.

Monica Shores is Managing Editor of and frequent contributor to $pread magazine. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Nerve.com, The Rumpus, DCist, Popmatters, Alternet, and Make/shift magazine. She also pens a bimonthly column for CarnalNation on sex worker rights.

Mariko Passion sings “Decriminalize Me” in PSA for Sex Worker Fest

It plays when you come to the site, http://www.sexworkerfest.com/

You can download it here! http://www.sexworkerfest.com/PSASexWorkerFest2009.mp3

Support sex worker rights in Providence, Rhode Island May 21, 2009 by phone!!:

Forwarded on behalf of Maxine Doogan
Support sex worker rights in Providence, Rhode Island TOMORROW by phone!!:

Tara Hurley from Providence Rhode Island made a documentary about the sex workers there and legislation that is being proposed to make sex work illegal. She interviewed many sex workers in the area and has honestly represented their views and situations in her film. Because this film contains the truth about the issue, Tara is being slammed in the press by academic Donna Hughes, Chair of Women’s Studies at University of Rhode Island. Hughes has ties to right wing anti-choice Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey (who promoted the anti-prostitution pledge, which denied HIV funding and treatment to sex workers worldwide). Hughes called George Bush the “first feminist president.” Hughes is reputed to be in the pocket of the US anti-abortion religious right. This is the stuff that will speak far more to listeners than her anti-prostitution stance. We need to discredit Hughes.

Donna Hughes will be on Dan Locke’s radio show tomorrow at 4pm. Please call in to the show to question Hughes’ credentials and affiliations:
1-800-321-9776

You can listen to the the show live online at:
http://www.630wpro.com/

State of Arizona Commits Negligent Homicide Against Sex Worker

Yesterday afternoon, a female inmate of the Arizona Department of Corrections, Marcia Powell, who was serving 27 months for prostitution, perished in 100+ degree heat after being left outside for four hours in an uncovered holding cell.   A criminal investigation is supposedly underway to determine negligence.

Sadly, one more for our beloved December 17th list.   Article and video can be viewed here.

Update:  Ms. Powell was serving a Class 5 felony repetitive prostitution charge with enhanced sentencing.  You can view her current ADOC inmate profile here, altho I doubt it will be up for very long since she is now deceased.

Open Letter from Sex Worker Advocate to South Africa’s Honorable Premier Nomvula Mokonyane

fist This open letter comes to us through the activists at the Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT) in South Africa. SWEAT is involved in direct outreach work with sex workers around health and safety as well as public awareness and advocacy work.

For much of our history the vast majority of South Africans suffered extreme injustice, deprivation and systematic human rights abuses. We need to continue to guard against the ways in which the abuses of the past live on.

Sex workers have for too long become targets of hate crime, name calling and being shamed and violently abused, often by those supposed to protect their human rights and the law. As under apartheid when somebody found themselves hyper visible and invisible due to the color of their skin and subject to derogatory stereotypes ; sex workers today find themselves subjected to very similar acts of prejudice, harassment, stigmatisation and violence.

Being a sex worker in Africa is not a matter of morality or even sexual expression, in much the same way that being black under apartheid was not a matter of pigmentation but a reflection of a mental attitude, state of consciousness, a way to emancipate yourself and fight against all forces that marks you out as a subservient being without access to basic life enriching resources. Being a sex worker is to hold your head high in defiance rather than willingly surrender to the crushing effects of poverty.

It is to say, in most situations:

“As a mother, as an ordinary poor woman, I enter the sex industry for economic reasons so as to put food onto the table to feed my children. I am poor but I will survive and will not let my children die. The sex industry is one of the few options open to me. Even if my choice is constrained, it is a rational choice and survival strategy even if it creates difficulties in other respects, like working under exploitative conditions and risking human rights violations. I deserve to have my choice respected.”

Your frank talk last week reminded me of Biko and the time period in our history when those fighting for the rights of the oppressed become lone voices in the darkness and human rights abuse was the order of the day. Biko spoke of liberation as both an act of claiming land and legal rights but also an act of psychological emancipation from the chains of the mind where by people internalized the prejudices of the oppressor and then oppresses others the way they have been oppressed. After years and years of abuse of sex workers we at last have a voice of reason and compassion from somebody in a position of power. It is significant that this voice comes from a woman who clearly knows and understands the struggle of those mothers trying to feed their children, something men struggle to understand. Perhaps it takes a woman to see beyond the hype, sensationalising and stereotyping of sex workers – to see the human face of the sex worker.

In the face of brutal abuse and stigmatisation your recognition of the humanity of our fellow sisters and brothers means a huge amount. We salute you for this; even though we do not agree on how best to regulate the industry – we argue for decriminalisation. You have opened the debate up in a humane and pragmatic way. Yes, it is imperative to stop criminals capitalising upon and exploiting sex workers, a situation that prevails as long as sex work is not regulated. You are correct that we cannot wait until 2010. As long as sex work is illegal criminals will thrive and use this to their advantage. Sex workers will not be able to report situations where they observe trafficking and children selling sex.

We can apply the words of President Barack Obama when he said that the debates around abortion will not go away. Similarly the debates around sex work is necessary and important. We will never get anywhere unless we stop reducing those with differing views to caricature and stop demonising one another. The debate on sex work is extremely complex but we must be able to deal with things that make us uncomfortable.

We thank you for you open mind, passion and concern to protect the human rights of sex workers and ensure that criminals do not capitalise upon the situation. A “conducive” environment needs to be created were sex workers can work in safety, pay their taxes and exist as citizens.

We salute you for not only raising the debate, but also having the courage to propose solutions.

Eric Harper
Director SWEAT
Tel: 27 21 448 7875
Fax: 27 21 448 5857
E-mail: richie.september@sweat.org.za
Community House
41 Salt River Rd
Salt River
7915
Cape Town

Quick Summary of the Situation

Someone else who doesn’t seem to be a sex worker has a great, quick, sarcastic answer to the whole CraigsList thing.

I don’t have permission to post her text here, so I’m just linking to it.