International Whores Day + Workshop 6/2 and 6/3

This Saturday is International Whores Day/International Sex Workers Day/PutaDei! There is a direct action being held at Daily Plaza at the Picasso Statue at noon, as organized by Miss Mercedez, Miss Velvet, Marten Katze, Sophie Bee and Leah Levine.
They are still looking for people who want to speak at the action about their lived experiences, loved ones, or general solidarity with sex workers rights movements. You don’t have to have a big speech or anything planned, we just want to offer people a platform to voice their thoughts, anger, concern and fears. Feel free to check out the Facebook event for information:
*Flyers designed by Sema Graham, an artist from Chicago*
On Sunday, 6/3 Chicago Skill Share Network is organizing a net-safety workshop for sex workers. If you’d like to get more info on this, email info@swop-chicago.org. The event is in Pilsen from 1:00-3:30, and it is free. Any donations will be given to Lysistrata funds.

A Funeral for the Death of Safer Sex Work!!! – Planning Meeting

Emily is throwing a great event after the support group on Saturday to plan efforts to channel art in protesting SESTA/FOSTA/CLOUD! Read her description below.

As an Art Therapist & Current Sex Worker, I am in the process of organizing an Art Protest titled “A Funeral for the Death of Safer Sex Work” set for May 1st, 2018, (international laborer/worker rights day) as a way to collectively greave the end of an era for sex workers, as a way to object to the passing of SESTA, FOSTA & CLOUD as well as to show physical visible solidarity with sex workers experiencing negative effects from the implementation of these laws!

The first planning meeting and funeral hat making workshop will be held after the Sex Worker Support Group this coming Saturday the 21st around 3:00pm at my place (close to the corner of Clark & Lunt) in Rogers Park. I will have music, food & art supplies (but would like to empower people to bring their own supplies as well)!

I will lead a hat making workshop and allow for any further processing that folks want to do after the support group!

FB Event:
https://www.facebook.com/events/585723308452645/permalink/587032228321753/?notif_t=feedback_reaction_generic&notif_id=1524036839377237

Twitter:
https://twitter.com/TheArtOfHoetest

Support Group April 21

Due to the increasing stressors, due to SESTA legislation making it more difficult for people to do sex work safely and for trafficking victims to be identified, we are increasing the frequency of our support groups for current and retired sex workers. We expect to hold the groups 2-5 times per month, on Saturdays. You can also visit our Facebook page for updates.

Date/Time: Saturday April 21, 1:15pm-2:45pm

Location: Howard Brown 4025 N Sheridan (room TBD, and check our Facebook page for updates, because we may move to their new location across the street soon)

Here is a link to our Facebook event:

https://www.facebook.com/events/188032701998168/

Here is the description for the event:

Join us in solidarity for a support group for sex workers*, current and retired, hosted by Howard Brown. Whether you are in need of resources, support, or can provide support for others or just need a space to vent, please join us!

We will continue to talk about SESTA and hold workshops and offer information related to changes and how to navigate those changes and stay safe.

We have a suggested donation of 10 dollars but no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

The room location is currently TBD, so look for a SWOP representative in the lobby or call/text 708-320-3078 to be directed into the room.

Please send us a message if anyone needs a ride so we can arrange help getting to and from the meeting. It is a short walk from the Sheridan Redline stop. Also, if you need childcare, give me a couple days notice so we can try to arrange something.
*The sex work umbrella includes escorting, erotic phone or cam work, professional BDSM, erotic massage, stripping, porn acting, and more. If you are unsure if this group is for you, call Cassandra at 708-320-3078

18+ only

 

 

Support Group for Sex Workers April 21

In response to the fallout from the SESTA legislation, we are increasing the frequency of our support group for current and retired sex workers. Right now, we will be holding the group approximately every other week (and always on the first Saturday). If more support is needed, we will begin meeting every week.

We are continuing to compile resources and practical supports, so check our website and Facebook for updates on topics and resources. Come to the group to receive and provide support and keep everyone safe during this trying time.

The details for our upcoming group is as follows:

Saturday April 21

1:15pm-2:45pm

Howard Brown on Sheridan

4025 N Sheridan, room TBD

Suggested donation $10 (everyone is welcome regardless of ability to pay)

Note that this group is ONLY for current or retired sex workers. If you want to support the cause, please donate or come to our general meeting. If you are unsure if the group if for you, want help securing transportation to attend, or have questions about it, please contact Cassandra D. at 708-320-3078

Here is the link to our Facebook event:

https://www.facebook.com/events/188032701998168/

Love and solidarity,

Cassandra D

LAWMAKERS ENDANGER SEX WORKERS IN THE NAME OF RESCUE

Today’s passage of #SESTA (the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act) by the US Senate spells more danger ahead for those who work in the sex industry.

Along with #FOSTA (the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act), passed by the House of Representatives on February 27, this potentially disastrous bill seeks to amend the Communications Decency Act (CDA, which protects Internet companies from prosecution for user-posted content) to exclude anything deemed to facilitate sex trafficking. The result could be a dramatic widening of the crackdown on sex work online that began with last year’s Federal shutdown of Backpage.

Sex workers and allies faced an uphill battle against SESTA/FOSTA, which most members of Congress viewed as an easy bipartisan win on a “no-brainer” issue. Sex work has been barely visible in the national debate around this legislation, which has focused almost entirely on Net neutrality and First Amendment issues. But even some tech giants such as Facebook and IBM reversed their positions on these bills, presumably to avoid appearing to condone sex trafficking. As usual, the most vulnerable people in the equation and those most directly affected have no voice in the passage of legislation that endangers while purporting to protect them.

Yet advocates for sex workers’ rights and anti-trafficking activists agree that SESTA/FOSTA will hurt everyone working in the sex trade, including trafficked individuals. As Freedom Network USA, “the largest network of anti-trafficking service providers and advocates in the United States,” said in a recent statement,

Reforming the CDA to include the threat of civil litigation could deter responsible website administrators from trying to identify and report trafficking. It is important to note that responsible website administration can make trafficking more visible — which can lead to increased identification. …When websites are shut down, the sex trade is pushed underground and sex trafficking victims are forced into even more dangerous circumstances. Street-based sex workers report significantly higher levels of victimization, including physical and sexual violence.

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The ability to advertise and communicate openly online constitutes a major safety net for all sex workers. Take this away and workers are driven back to the danger of the streets and increased vulnerability to predatory clients and procurers. Under SESTA/FOSTA, Internet companies could ban sex workers sharing information about dangerous clients and other harm reduction resources. Only full decriminalization can empower sex workers to control the conditions of our labor.

The struggle continues against the attitudes embodied in this legislation: that people trading in sex–whether by choice, circumstance, or coercion–need rescue; that the consensual sale and purchase of sex by adults enables, or is the same as, human trafficking; that sex workers don’t deserve the same rights and respect as other types of workers. With both government and well-intentioned rescuers failing us yet again, it will now be up to the sex-work community to devise new best practices to keep workers as safe as possible from prosecution and violence, while they continue to work for survival.

#SESTA #FOSTA #LetUsSurvive #SurvivorsAgainstSESTA

SESTA Community Meeting this Sunday!

Dear sex worker family,

SWOP-Chicago is hosting a forum for workers to come together to learn about, process, and think about next steps regarding the scary law that could pass the Senate any day now: https://stopsesta.org/.  As you may know, SESTA (or FOSTA as it’s currently called in the House) would target online platforms on which many workers advertise, making our work more vulnerable and pushing many of us to the streets.

This Sunday, we want to get together to educate each other about the law, how and when it might be implemented, and best practices for continuing to work safely. We’ll be joined by lawyers from the Community Activism Law Alliance, which provides free legal representation to current and retired sex workers through the SWOP-Chicago legal clinic.  CALA will host us at their space:

5pm on Sunday March 18

17 N State St., Suite 1380

Chicago, IL 60602

 

We’ll order some pizza.  If you’re planning on coming please let Mike know at mike@swop-chicago.org so we can order enough.  But please feel free to come at the last minute even without an RSVP! And please spread the word to other workers!

Hope to see and strategize with many of you soon!