Harm reduction and Human Rights (both) for Sex Work Plenary

I know some activists going to a harm-reduction conference called CLAT5 in Porto (Portugal) in the near future, where I’m to give a plenary talk at the opening session. The description of the conference in English: ‘Our aims for this event are to rethink – in a transnational way – the future of harm reduction and to question the actual (current) consensus about its policies and practices of intervention. For this we will stimulate a critical discussion based on the concepts and practices linked with harm reduction and also bring to the debate issues of human rights, South-North and East-West inequalities and social dialogue among key actors.’

I understand some people in the harm-reduction field don’t think sex work should be there and that it was a close thing whether any plenary speaker would address it. And I know that some people don’t like harm reduction as a way of thinking about sex work.  To put this in context, the conference has 6 streams:

1 Drugs on the Street
2 Parties: Pleasures Management and Risks Reduction
3 Alcohol and Harm Reduction
4 Sex: Pleasures, Risks and Sexual Work
5 Other addictions
6 Human Rights and Penal Control

There are five panels addressing sex/sex work and several good activists will speak, mixed with outreach/academic folk. Sex-work activists have gone to other harm-reduction conferences, of course, but here I’m to talk about human rights AND harm reduction, which feels challenging because they are both theoretical frames for thinking about the issues. And since globalisation is another of the event’s keywords I can talk about trafficking and anti-demand politics as well, but I’d rather not just spout a string of platitudes. Any ideas or tips from past experience?

Thanks, Laura

Laura María Agustín  Border Thinking

SWWET School for Johns

Saturday, 9/20, 11 am — 5 pm — SWEET JOHNS’ SCHOOL

S.ex W.ork E.nthusiasts E.ducation and T.raining School 4 Johns is a 6 hour seminar about interacting with Professional Sex Workers. It’s presented for clients, and people interested in becoming clients. S4J deals with all aspects of professional intimate encounters, including but not limited to: Erotic massage, BDSM, erotic dancing (stripping). We will have Professional Providers (including a pro from Nevada), Medical experts, Legal experts, and some demos of professional interaction. Co-sponsored by BAYSWAN and the Sex Workers’ Outreach Project.

At the Center for sex & Culture. 1519 Mission near 11th, San Francisco, CA.

$20-50 sliding scale, please RSVP at mail (at sexandculture.org and put Johns School in the header.

AIDS 2008: speech from an ally

I met Nickie at the conference and she said “I’m giving a speech about Sex Workers”, and I said I’d love to post it for sex workers to read and comment. She is an Intern at ADVOCATESFORYOUTH.ORG, a non-profit from Washington, DC. Click below for the full speech.

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AIDS 2008: Pre Conference Day 2

So I’ve learned a lot today! The AIDS conference will have 25,000 people there! I’m shocked, I had no idea it would be so big! Today we planned our strategies for the upcoming conferences, more on that soon! Otherwise it’s been really great working with , meeting and getting to know even more amazing people. Today for me was busy. 2 support calls, lots of planning for the week, and trying to finish off last minute print jobs for the conference. Somehow Dinner and I didn’t work out, I went to when and where I thought dinner was supposed to be and nobody was there! I found a little asian market and picked up some dumplings, which turned out to be kinda gross. But I ate, and that’s the important part. I’ve had some of the best soups of my life here however!

Sometimes people ask me why I’m involved in Sex Worker Rights. One of many reasons came to me again today, which revolves around my transgendered status.

I get on average 2 or 3 emails a month from my transgendered brothers and sisters memorializing another murdered transgendered person in the United States. While some of these people are not sex workers, many transgendered people are Sex Workers because when society labels you a freak, the job market gets amazingly small in a hurry! Yet, we want to earn a living, and pay for our food, a place to stay, and be fiscally solvent like everyone else. Sex Work is and should be a viable job option for transgendered people (and any other type of person).

The GLBT community is working on future transgendered rights, and ending the communal discrimination against us. While I help with and support that struggle, what I’m doing with sex workers now, is helping transgendered people with viable job options in the sex industry. We as transgendered people are respected better in this community than in many other communities.

If you are a transgendered sex worker and need support, I want to let you know that SWOP’s Chicago Chapter is offering a hotline to support transgender sex workers for general health and safety issues as it relates to the TS community, etc. To access this service dial 877-776-2004 option 3, then option 3, or if you are in the chicago area, dial 312-252-3880 then option 3.

Thank you for letting me share one of many reasons why I’m here doing what I do. Please feel free to comment below and share with us why you are involved in, or interested in Sex Workers, their communities and rights?

Tomorrow night we will be doing a live radio show on XXBN. You should definitely come talk with us on the show! Bring questions, talk to a real live transgendered person, or just listen to us talk about all the things we are doing here in Mexico City.

International Aids Conference, Pre Conference for Sex Workers.

It’s the first evening and Welcome Reception for the Universal Action for the Sex Work Inclusion Pre-Conference meeting about Sex Work, which is an Official Affiliated Event of the International Aids Society. which is part of the International Aids Conference in Mexico City.

For me this is HUGE. This is my first time with the International Sex Worker Movement. About 170 Sex Workers had dinner together, and it was awesome! I’m feeling very overwhelmed, crowds of people always do that to me though. But how amazing is it for 170 International Sex Workers to come together and talk about rights for Sex Workers! I’m awed, the whole thing is paid for, free to all of us, including Hotel Rooms, Food, everything! It’s VERY awesome! Everyone has been really nice so far, and there was a whole table full of Transgendered people, and another great table or two of Men. So there is some representation from us “others” in the movement. The entire contingent of US Sex Workers is not all here yet, but we are growing in numbers.. 3 so far with more to come!

Great Energy, wonderfully well put on so far. They’ve JAM PACKED the schedule however with Breakfast starting @ 7:30 AM, and running until 8 or 9 PM! Very Long days ahead!! The last day of the conference ends in a March against Homophobia! Robyn and I are very excited as well as the Cambodian Male Sex Workers! So much more to report, but I’m sleepy sleepy, long days ahead, and I didn’t get to fully recuperate from the DA conference. I’m going to try and not work so hard this conference, just take it all in and stay quite. That’s my plan. I’m hoping after the march to go visit the Basilica Of Guadalupe. I’m not a catholic, but my best friend is enamored with the Virgin of Guadalupe, and has gotten me intrigued and interested. I wish my friend could be here to visit with me!