August 15, 2010
People who have done sex work or been involved in the sex trades — and their experiences and their expertise — are all too often shut out of the places where the quality of their lives and their rights are up for debate. Even among those working for public health, including sexual/reproductive health and rights, sex workers can be regarded as “vulnerable” populations, not leaders in their own health and in the well-being of our communities.
Want a tool to share the concerns of sex workers with people who care about health, rights, and justice? Participants in Speak Up!, a video advocacy training conducted by Sex Work Awareness, produced a video to educate harm reduction practitioners and community health care providers about the goals that sex workers share with them.
The PSA features Naomi Akers, executive director of Third Wave grant partner St. James Infirmary, the first occupational health and safety clinic in the United States run by and for sex workers. St. James Infirmary has been a leader in opposing the police practice of confiscating condoms as evidence from sex workers. In the video, Naomi asks:
If you are a service provider or health official concerned with disease prevention, we encourage you to work with sex workers to end these police practices.
The Speak Up participants have also created a toolkit for harm reduction practitioners who want to learn how to work with sex workers — not just as a “target” population, but as critical allies in health and justice.
Written by: Third Wave Foundation