First, I will address the anti- sex trafficking movement:
- The fight against trafficking would be greatly aided by the decriminalization of prostitution.
Some trafficking victims have co-workers who do not identify as trafficking victims, who would be better able to help their co-workers escape exploitative situations if they were not at risk of arrest as a result of doing sex work. Same with customers; if they did not fear arrest it would be easier for them to help those who disclose that they are in exploitative situations escape them.
- The fight against trafficking would also be aided by the destigmatization of prostitution. Furthermore, no sex worker or trafficking victim deserves the hate and shame that is dealt out to sex workers in this world.
Trafficking victims are often perceived as sex workers, or may even belong to both groups of people at different times in their lives, and neither group deserves that stigma. The hate and shame keeps the industry underground as well, and makes it more difficult for sex workers to openly work to help people in exploitative situations.
- Arresting sex workers and human trafficking victims is traumatic and a violation.
Trafficking victims are often arrested multiple times without ever being identified as trafficked. Arrest is (or can be) traumatic for both sex workers and trafficking victims, and neither group does anything to deserve that.
- The funding of raids causes more harm than good.
Raids are especially traumatic and are often accompanied by human rights abuses. They lead to the arrest and deportation of both sex workers and trafficking victims who are not identified as trafficked. Both sex workers and trafficking victims are treated as criminals. Furthermore, many sex trafficking victims escape on their own or with the help of someone they know. Even those who do not escape this way may have left if they knew they had somewhere to go. Funding shelters, making the shelters safe (as shelter systems often aren’t) and funding good, voluntary social service outreach programs would be a more effective method of fighting trafficking and would have fewer unintended negative consequences than raids.
Next I will address the sex workers rights movement:
- Trafficking is a horrendous crime. Nobody should be subject to that kind of violation, and all decent people should work to end that suffering.
This one kind of goes without saying.
- People in the anti-trafficking movement are capable of being great allies.
GAATW, many member organizations, and other organizations are already supportive of sex workers rights, for many of the reasons I have given above. Other organizations may come around.
- The anti-trafficking movement is relatively well-funded and is given quite a bit of public support.
Not only can those in the anti-trafficking movement be great allies, they are relatively powerful ones.
In short, we can better accomplish all our goals by working together.