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How Stigma Affects The Safety Of Sex Workers

I adore TED talks. Even the bad ones are good. Some of them are stunning and fantastic. One from (of all people) Fulbright scholar Dolph Lundgren nearly broke my heart. Especially as he was a resident of Marbella with his family for many years. The talk explains what happened and why he is no longer with them and lives in Los Angeles. But it was so human that it shocked me. And some on psychology, emotions and human relationships have been incredibly enlightening. I have never before heard of the TED Radio Hour, which is on National Public Radio (NPR) in the United States. A friend introduced me to it and I was surprised to find a really interesting talk there from a British activist for the rights of sex workers in the United Kingdom and far beyond. I think her talk should be obligatory listening for anyone who works in our industry, who is a client of our industry, or knows someone who works in the industry or pats for sex. You know, basically everyone!

juno mac giving ted talkJuno Mac is a sex worker and activist based in London. She works with the Sex Work Advocacy and Resistance Movement (SWARM), a collective of sex workers focused on advocating full decriminalization of sex work, campaigning for better working conditions, and educational resources for sex workers in the United Kingdom. Her talk on how stigma compromises the safety of sex workers is powerful and full of insights even for professionals who have been in the business for as long as I have. It is well worth a listen for everyone. And it will open most peoples eyes to how preconceptions, misconceptions and ignorant views on the industry impact on the safety of sex workers.

When you cannot call the police after a rape or assault because you are more likely to be treated as a criminal than a victim, even being threatened with jail or (illegal) deportation, how does that make you safe? And surely it must drive women to be “protected” by pimps and exploiters if they cannot expect the law and civil society to take care of them. And if “women like that” are asking for it, how can they expect to be safe? In Spain we are fortunate not to have the same issues. We have our own and they are very complicated, but most of the ones that Mac discusses do not apply here in enlightened Spain.

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