This week Occupy Oakland Patriarchy took the vanguard of protesting outside “anti-trafficking” conferences.*
This is the first I’ve heard of an anti-trafficking conference getting the Occupy treatment. And I do wonder what the cops think: do they really want to take on yet more “vice” work they’re so poorly qualified to do? Local news doesn’t see fit to ask them, but are very pleased to provide some anarchist eye candy.
A perfect complement: Charlotte Shane writes about encountering the 1%, as a sex worker—not just wealthy clients, but also, what it means to accumulate her own wealth.
It’s true that many of my clients are incredibly bright, highly skilled at their jobs, and have labored for years on a minimum of sleep. It’s not that they’ve made no sacrifices or put forth no effort, nor are they unkind or unpleasant people. But its fruitless to debate whether they have “worked hard” enough to justify income disparity. Such personality and work-ethic arguments are red herrings; it’s clear that one can work very hard and not make much money, and that we each have different ideas as to what constitutes “hard” work.
* “anti-trafficking” is in quotes because the aim of this conference is to give the police more money and more power to arrest anyone in the sex trade, which would not only do nothing to reduce violence or coercion in the sex trade, it would also do little to “abolish”—their words!—anything re: forced labor, let alone commercial sex.
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Kidnapping and rape are not merely “vice.”
Voluntary farmers don’t defend the human traffickers who enslave other people to pick cacao and tomatoes against their will.
Voluntary domestic workers don’t defend the human traffickers who enslave other people to cook and clean against their will.
Why do you defend the human traffickers who enslave other people to have sex against their will?
Who am I defending, and for what? I’m arguing that “trafficker” is being used to describe far too many people, many of them not involved in forced labor.