#MacroSW Chat 5/16/2019: Sex Workers and Stigma, Suicide, and Sexual Violence

sex workers, decriminalization, social work, mental health, stigma

Chat transcript

Sex workers are at greater risk to be victims of crime, sexual violence, and mental health problems because of their work. Stigma and laws criminalizing sex work influence these risk factors. Prostitution is illegal and the fear of arrest prevents sex workers from reporting crimes and abuses committed against them. Society’s views about sex work fuels stigma against sex workers which create injustice, perpetuate myths, takes away human rights, and affects mental health.

Join us on Thursday, May 16 at 9 p.m. Eastern (6 p.m. Pacific) for the #MacroSW chat, Sex Workers and Stigma, Suicide, & Sexual Violence, to discuss the risks sex workers are exposed to and how social workers can play a role in supporting people involved in sex work.  This is the second chat in a series on this topic.

Chat Series

April 25:  The Fine Line Between Willing and Coerced Sex Work. Check out the chat transcript.

June 13: Impact of the Fosta-Sesta Legislation on Sex Work. Save the date!

We will explore:

1) How can social workers combat the stigma against sex workers?

2) What is influencing the mental health of sex workers?    

3) Let’s discuss the myths and realities of sexual violence and sex work.

The silence and secrecy that surrounds sex work begets many problems and preys on inequalities faced by immigrant women, transgendered community, minority populations. Sexual assault and rape are difficult for sex workers to report because of a perpetuated myth that sex workers can’t be raped by the nature of their work. Two reports illustrate this point. The Meaningful Work Study found 40 percent of black transgender people in sex work reported experiencing harassment, violence, and arrest. Amnesty International report, “If They Can Have Her, Why Can’t We?” delves into the problem of sex workers who suffered violence perpetrated by Dominican police officers.  

These troubling stories and researched base realities show that more work is necessary to develop better solutions around supporting sex workers.  Social workers are in the best position to make the biggest difference.

Resources

From Margin to Center: Sex Work Decriminalization is a Racial Justice Issue, Amnesty International

Puri, N., Shannon, K., Nguyen, P., & Goldenberg, S. M. (2017). Burden and correlates of mental health diagnoses among sex workers in an urban setting. BMC women’s health, 17(1), 133.

Peers Victoria Resource Society – Factsheet about Stigma

Peers Victoria Resource Society – Factsheet about Health and Sex Work

The Case of Jane Doe Ponytail: An epic tragedy on a small block in Queens, New York Times

Listen to this week’s podcast

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