Sex Work Myth Debunker

Sex work is work. Part of the stigma around sex workers rises from how many myths and falsehoods are spread about the profession. Collective Action for Safe Spaces (CASS), BYP100 DC, and No Justice No Pride, members of the DECRIMNOW campaign, debunked some myths for us below.

 

SEX WORK MYTH #1

MYTH: Sex work will increase nuisances like used condoms on the street.

FACT: Street-based sex workers don’t want to engage in sex work outside either, but this is actually a homelessness problem more than it is a problem connected to sex work. Sex workers who have a safe place to work have more options for disposing of condoms and other trash. Homeless sex workers, however, are forced to engage in street-based sex work, which puts them at increased risk of violence. 


SEX WORK MYTH #2

MYTH: Sex work will increase sex trafficking.

FACT: Decriminalizing consensual sex work will not change trafficking laws.

FACT: Decriminalizing consensual sex work will make it easier to locate and provide resources to people who are trafficked because, without the threat of arrest, sex workers will be able to be allies in ending trafficking.

FACT: Trafficking doesn’t often happen the way it does in Taken, with an unsuspecting teen-aged girl snatched and sold for sex against her will. More frequently, child sex trafficking victims are already experiencing homelessness, making them vulnerable to trafficking and also making them more likely to engage in survival sex, which the law defines as “sex trafficking” for those under 18 years old.


SEX WORK MYTH #3

MYTH: Sex work will lead to more people joining the sex trade.

FACT: Many people engage in sex work because they have no or few alternatives. Many trans people of color, for example, experience high rates of employment discrimination and find themselves with no option except to engage in criminalized work. Once someone has a criminal record for sex work, they’re more likely to experience further employment discrimination and find themselves trapped in this form of work. Decriminalizing the work they do to survive will help decrease the stigma associated with this work and make it easier for sex workers to access alternative opportunities.


SEX WORK MYTH #4

MYTH: All sex workers are forced into the sex trade.

FACT: People choose sex work for a wide range of reasons — flexible schedules, higher pay than many other entry-level jobs, or just because they enjoy it. There are also many people who engage in sex work because it’s the only option available to them while experiencing homelessness. We want to make sure people have options and resources. That’s why the bill we're fighting for will both decriminalize sex work and create a task force to ensure that there are next steps to ensure the health and safety of people who are in the sex trade.