The world just celebrated the International Day of the Girl on Oct. 11, and while many sung praises to influential and powerful women killing it in various fields, there are unsung ladies fighting to get by in a field most people would raise their eyebrows at: sex work.
We’re talking strippers, prostitutes, sugar babies, cam girls, porn actresses, and everything else in between, and women in sex work deserve just as much protection and your fancy hashtags from the community, the state, and the country as much as women in more “traditional” fields.
Women who turned to these lines of work have often had limited opportunities in life, and have it rough from society: everyone in one way or another is fascinated by what they do largely because of how it’s portrayed in pop culture, but recoil when they see the person and their struggles and hardships behind the sexual persona.
Sex work is real work, if you define work as two consenting adults exchanging money for a service from the other. And like in a work place, sex workers should also have protection from abuses. It doesn’t mean that just because a person is engaged in sex work no matter their reason, that rape and other forms of abuse are the norm.
This doesn’t apply to just cisgendered women; trans women, lesbians, gay men, and everyone in the spectrum who are engaged in one form or another of sex work, have rights to be protected from abuse.
Remember that sex workers are also people who have children to feed, an education to pay for, rent to keep, parents who might be in the hospital and need medication, and that they pay taxes too.
It is rare for people to stay in sex work all their lives, as people simply see it as a means to end: it could finally get them out of debt, or it could fund a business for them to not have to turn to sex work anymore, or satisfy a curiosity their privilege can afford them.
Fact of the matter is that sex work will be here to stay because it feeds the ever- evolving sexual fantasies of people, and criminalizing sex workers will not stop sex from selling, because there will always be someone looking to buy.
On the International Day of the Girl and every day of every year, support the fight to find ways to ensure that sex workers are protected from abusive porn companies who demand for their performers to not wear condoms, exposing them to deadly sexually transmitted diseases; pressure authorities to pursue a rape complaint from a sex worker, fight to ensure the government does not hinder access to contraceptives and other birth control, and report cases of people prostituting trafficked persons or prostituting minors.