In 1996, the Lusty Lady in San Francisco became the first strip club in the country to successfully unionize, making history for the entire informal labor sector, including sex work. Despite the club’s closure in 2013, “Lusties,” as the dancers call themselves, remain a symbol of resilience and empowerment in an industry so often criticized…Continue reading Hero(es) of the Month: Honoring the Dancers of the Lusty Lady
DSW’s Melissa Broudo was featured in “As a Woman,” an interview-based film series diving into the lives of six inspirational, female-identifying New Yorkers. Written and produced by Majella Productions, the documentary explores how these individuals relate to their womanhood, and the ways this identity impacts their lived experience. The production is a beautiful examination of…Continue reading DSW’s Melissa Broudo Featured in Film Series on Inspirational Women
Hero(es) of the Month: TS Candii, SX Noir, and Gizelle Marie Organize the Largest Sex Worker March in U.S. History
More than six hundred activists, community members, and allies, including DSW’s Ceyenne Doroshow and Frances Steele, filled Manhattan’s Times Square on a Saturday at 5 p.m. The crowd gathered for the Black Sex Worker Liberation March & Vigil. When the event concluded five hours later, it was conclusively the largest demonstration for sex worker rights…Continue reading Hero(es) of the Month: TS Candii, SX Noir, and Gizelle Marie Organize the Largest Sex Worker March in U.S. History
In our last newsletter, DSW reported on how the EARN IT Act, a bill that recently advanced out of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, threatens the very heart of online security and privacy. The legislation claims to go after the online sexual abuse of minors. In a world that is quickly digitizing — and becoming…Continue reading DSW Takes Action Against EARN IT
The Cape Cod, MA, chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America asked DSW’s Kaytlin Bailey to present on police reform, accountability, and gendered violence from a sex worker’s perspective. The talk started with a brief history of policing prostitution, and the social narratives we have constructed to allow police abuse to proliferate. Bailey then outlined…Continue reading DSW’s Kaytlin Bailey on Sex Work and Police Reform
DSW’s Melissa Broudo and Frances Steele attended a rally in New York City supporting five state-level criminal justice reform bills that will be voted on — and hopefully passed — this legislative session. The rally featured impacted community members who shared personal experiences and state-wide data to explain the critical issues addressed by each bill….Continue reading DSW Supports Criminal Justice Reform Bills in New York
DSW consultant, cornerstone figure of the transgender, nonconforming, nonbinary rights movement, and founder of Gays and Lesbians Living In a Transgender Society (G.L.I.T.S.), Ceyenne Doroshow set out to raise a million dollars to support trans women of color last month. The fundraiser reached its goal in one short week and the momentum has not stopped. The…Continue reading Fighting and Winning: Ceyenne Doroshow and the state of TGNCNB rights
Black people nationwide continue to be harassed and murdered by law enforcement, with little to no consequences. We know that this systemic disregard for Black lives is neither new nor accidental, but rather a symptom of the endemic racism that shapes the society we live in. The movement to decriminalize sex work is all too…Continue reading Black Lives Matter
DSW’s Hero of the Month for June is Ceyenne Doroshow — activist, organizer, and a cornerstone of the international sex worker and transgender, gender nonconforming, non-binary (TGNC) rights movements. Ceyenne, a Black transwoman, is also the founder and executive director of Gays and Lesbians Living in a Transgender Society (GLITS) in NYC. GLITS helps to…Continue reading Hero of the Month: Ceyenne Doroshow, Celebrating Pride Through Justice
A new sex worker rights organization was co-founded in VT by J. Leigh Brantly of DSW, along with local human rights advocate Henri. The Ishtar Collective is the first-ever anti-trafficking and sex-worker-rights organization to be based in Vermont. The organization is run by and for current and former sex workers, industry allies, and survivors of…Continue reading DSW’s J. Leigh Brantly Co-founds Sex Worker Group in Vermont
The 45th annual celebration of International Whore’s Day (IWD) departed from the usual, where sex workers and their allies don red attire and march through city streets across the country. This year, the IWDNYC Coalition collaborated with Kink Out Events to launch an online rally and social media takeover honoring protests for sex worker rights…Continue reading International Whore’s Day 2020: Virtual and Vibrant
An opinion piece by DSW’s Kaytlin Bailey was published in the New Hampshire Union Leader in response to an opponent’s op-ed published days before. The original opinion piece was written by Jasmine Grace, a NH resident and trafficking survivor, who challenged the intentions of those, like DSW, who are fighting for legislation to defend the…Continue reading DSW Debates Human Trafficking in the News
DSW’s J. Leigh Brantly was a guest on the Crooked Media podcast “Six Feet Apart With Alex Wagner,” discussing sex work amidst the pandemic. Six Feet Apart is a weekly show that explores every aspect of the human experience during COVID-19 and how people are surviving this extraordinary and life-defining event. In the episode “Sex,”…Continue reading “Six Feet Apart” Podcast With Alex Wagner Features J. Leigh Brantly
DSW participated in Equality New York’s LGBTQI Virtual Day of Action. Community experts led panels and webinars on the movement’s policy priorities for this legislative session to improve the lives of LGBTQI New Yorkers and their families. After opening remarks from elected officials, including Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul (D), state Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) and…Continue reading Lobbying in the Time of COVID?
DSW’s Melissa Broudo and J. Leigh Brantly were featured in the latest edition of New Pride Agenda’s virtual town-hall series entitled, “Let’s Talk Sex & Sex Work.” The webinar brought together activists, policy experts, and community members to explore the economic and cultural impacts of social distancing for LGBTQ+ people in response to the COVID-19…Continue reading DSW Joins Virtual Town Hall With Movement Experts
The New York State legislature is following social distancing protocol, and advocacy groups have organized virtual lobbying meetings to continue their activism. Through their work with the New York Gender Diversity Coalition and other organizations, DSW’s J. Leigh Brantly helped organize an historic day of activism. Transgender, Gender-Non Conforming, Non-Binary (TGNC/NB) Advocacy Day is an…Continue reading DSW Participates in TGNC/NB Advocacy Day in NY
The International Women’s Strike, also known as Paró Internacional de Mujeres, is a global movement of coalitions in more than 50 countries, organizing around International Women’s Day each year. The movement began in 2017 to honor the work of women across the world, organizing against the criminalization of abortion, femicide, and gender-based violence. This year’s…Continue reading Our Bodies, Our Labors, Our Streets: International Women’s Day in NYC
On International Sex Worker Rights Day, the Walking While Trans Coalition gathered at the Million Dollar Staircase in the Albany Statehouse to speak out about trans rights in New York State. DSW’s J. Leigh Brantly joined activists representing the New York Transgender Advocacy Group (NYTAG) and the Sharmus Outlaw Advocacy and Rights (SOAR) Institute. The…Continue reading DSW Rallies With Activists To Pass the #WalkingWhileTrans Repeal
Sex workers and allied communities celebrated International Sex Worker Rights Day, a holiday that commemorates the tireless efforts of harm-reduction advocates around the world. The holiday began in India in 2001 when over 25,000 sex workers from around the world gathered there for a festival organized by Durbar Mahila Samanwaya. The Durbar is a Kolkata-based…Continue reading Honoring Our Movement: International Sex Worker Rights Day
DSW’s Kaytlin Bailey sat down with the African Sex Work Alliance (ASWA) at its headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. ASWA is a Pan-African alliance of sex worker-led organizations. The group was formed in 2009 and has grown to include members from 33 countries. Bailey and ASWA discussed the overlap between what sex workers around the world…Continue reading DSW Travels To Nairobi To Meet With the African Sex Workers Alliance
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that plaintiffs in the Woodhull Freedom Foundation’s (WFF’s) lawsuit against the United States have standing to pursue claims. This decision guarantees sex worker rights advocates their day in court. The suit brought by Woodhull, Human Rights Watch, The Internet Archive, and two other plaintiffs is…Continue reading WFF Wins Appeal in Federal Court
DSW attended the Adult Video News (AVN) Awards Conference in Las Vegas. At this annual expo, meet-and-greet, and awards show, members of the adult entertainment industry exhibit their latest work, newest products, and talk about business initiatives. J. Leigh Brantly, Melissa Broudo, and Kaytlin Bailey presented on DSW’s work at the expo. DSW’s presence highlighted…Continue reading Adult Entertainment Industry Supports DSW in the Fight Against Stigma
Opinion: It’s time to decriminalize sex work and focus on actual crimes (Orange County Register, January 10, 2020)
This month marks Decriminalize Sex Work’s first full calendar year as a national advocacy organization. It is hard to believe how fast it has gone! Since DSW’s founding in the spring of 2019, our organization has: 1. Helped New Hampshire activists promote a study commission on sex work and human trafficking in the state, and…Continue reading 2019 In Review: DSW Concludes Its First Year
“Understanding Models of Legal Sex Work” (Cato Institute podcast, December 28, 2019) DSW’s Kaytlin Bailey is featured. “Sex work [is] only legal in parts of Nevada, and there it is highly restricted. What are some of the other models for legal sex work, and which models best respect the individuals involved? Kaytlin Bailey is with…Continue reading Cato Institute podcast: “Understanding Models of Legal Sex Work”
DSW’s Melissa Broudo and J. Leigh Brantly participated in the NY Transgender Advocacy Group’s LGBTQI Winter Cocktail Policy Series. Melissa and J spoke on a panel entitled “Reclaiming Our Bodies,” the first of three community-building, focused policy discussions. The event brought together LGBTQI community members and allies to learn about the intersection between sex workers’…Continue reading DSW Staffers Participate in LGBTQI and Sex Worker Rights Panel
DSW joined sex-worker-rights activists around the world in honoring the International Day To End Violence Against Sex Workers, which takes place annually on December 17. This holiday mourns the lives of far too many sex workers who are lost to violence, stigma, and discrimination in a criminalized environment. DSW participated in three events across the…Continue reading DSW Honors International Day To End Violence Against Sex Workers
Kaytlin Bailey shared DSW’s work at the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC’s) Annual Policy Summit in Scottsdale, Arizona. ALEC is the largest voluntary membership organization of state legislators and private-sector representatives in the U.S. DSW also attended the National Organization for Women’s (NOW’s) New York state conference to learn and exchange ideas around current efforts…Continue reading DSW Attends Two Key Conferences
DSW has gained two invaluable colleagues. Ceyenne Doroshow and J. Leigh Brantly will be joining the organization as Community Engagement Consultant and Research and Project Manager, respectively. Ceyenne Doroshow is an author, activist, organizer, performer, and public figure in the trans and sex worker rights movements. She is the Founder and Executive Director of Gays and…Continue reading DSW Welcomes Two Incredible New Team Members
“Prosecuting prostitution w/Kaytlin Bailey” (The Chip Franklin Show, November 26, 2019) DSW’s Kaytlin Bailey is featured. “Chip talks to Kaytlin Bailey of Decriminalize Sex Work about why sex workers should not be prosecuted.”
“You’re Wrong About… Human Trafficking” (“You’re Wrong About…” podcast, November 25, 2019) DSW’s Kaytlin Bailey is featured: “Mike tells Sarah how NGOs, activists and George W. Bush resurrected the ‘stranger danger’ panic for the modern era. Digressions include Reply All, muffins and Yelp for massage parlors. Mike’s vocal fry is worse than usual.”
DSW attended the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ (NACDL’s) 2019 Defending Sex Crimes Seminar, an annual event that brings together defense attorneys and criminal justice reform advocates. NACDL is an opportunity for experts to exchange knowledge around protecting the rights of defendants and promoting a more equitable justice process. This year’s seminar, “Zealous Advocacy in Sexual…Continue reading Defense Lawyers Understand the Harms of Criminalization
DSW Joins NYC Activists To Educate the Next Generation of Social-Justice Lawyers on Decriminalization
Melissa Broudo joined fellow activists and attorneys for a panel discussion on the whats, whys, and hows of sex-work decriminalization. The panel was organized by the NYU Law School chapter of If/When/How—Lawyering for Reproductive Justice. Fellow guests included Tiffany Cabán, who is a career public defender, recent candidate for Queens District Attorney, and national organizer…Continue reading DSW Joins NYC Activists To Educate the Next Generation of Social-Justice Lawyers on Decriminalization
DSW grantee COYOTE-RI (Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics) hosted a coalition meeting with human-rights activists in Providence, RI. DSW’s Melissa Broudo met with local organizations that are working to improve the lives of Rhode Island’s most vulnerable communities. The coalition outlined a strategy for the upcoming state legislative session. DSW and allies are proposing…Continue reading DSW and Allies Gear Up for Legislative Session in Rhode Island
DSW highlighted the public-health implications of decriminalizing sex work at the American Public Health Association’s (APHA’s) annual international conference in Philadelphia. Attendees conduct harm-prevention research on STI prevention, drug use, the environment, migration, sexual health, and violence on national and global scales. The vast majority of public-health professionals who approached DSW’s table agreed that the…Continue reading DSW Presents at the American Public Health Association Expo
The District of Columbia City Council held a hearing on the Community Safety and Health Act of 2019 (Bill 23-0318), which would decriminalize sex work in the nation’s capital. This would-be historic measure addresses health risks, violence against women, and human trafficking in Washington, D.C. DSW Communications Director Kaytlin Bailey testified at the 14-hour hearing…Continue reading No Vote Planned for Decrim Bill in D.C.
“Girls Do Porn’’ Was a Crime Ring, Not a Porn Site, Industry Experts Say (VICE, October 16, 2019) DSW’s Kaytlin Bailey is quoted: “To pretend that this is what the entire porn industry is like denigrates exactly the people that they claim to be speaking for,” Kaytlin Bailey, communications director for advocacy group Decriminalize Sex…Continue reading “Girls Do Porn” Was a Crime Ring, Not a Porn Site, Industry Experts Say
The New York State Gender Diversity Coalition convened at the Brooklyn Night Bazaar to exchange ideas about how to support gender diversity, equality, and sex worker rights in New York. This new coalition of sex workers’ rights and LGBTQIA* activists highlights the important overlap between DSW’s mission and the rights and safety of the LGBTQ…Continue reading DSW Joins Community Organizers at a Trans/Sex Workers Rights Mixer
Earlier this year, DSW filed an amicus brief in support of the lawsuit brought against the U.S. government by the Woodhull Freedom Foundation (WFF), Human Rights Watch, The Internet Archive, and two other plaintiffs in reaction to the terrible federal law known as the “Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act” (FOSTA). FOSTA chills speech and harms sex…Continue reading DSW Supports the Fight Against FOSTA in U.S. Court of Appeals
September 19: DSW’s Kaytlin Bailey was invited onto Newsmax TV with John Tobacco and Frank Morano to chat about sex work, Robert Kraft, and why handcuffs almost never help. https://www.youtube.com/embed/rpURBEaQd2k September 22: Kaytlin Bailey appeared on “Morano in the Morning” to expand on the Robert Kraft case, why it matters for sex workers’ rights, and field…Continue reading DSW in the News
DSW attended the International Human Trafficking and Social Justice Conference in Toledo, Ohio. The conference has been an annual event since 2004, bringing together researchers, survivors, allies, and service practitioners to exchange expertise and ideas and collaborate on future initiatives to fight human trafficking and social injustice worldwide. As anti-trafficking work is central to DSW’s…Continue reading DSW Attends International Human Trafficking and Social Justice Conference
DSW’s Kaytlin Bailey attended the 10th annual Woodhull’s Sexual Freedom Summit hosted in Washington, DC. She connected to sex worker rights activists and sexual freedom advocates from all over the country. Attending panels, presentations, and performances, Kaytlin was able to get a broad perspective on the issues plaguing sex workers and their allies in different…Continue reading DSW Participates in Woodhull’s 2019 Sexual Freedom Summit
Melissa Broudo, DSW’s general council and RI coordinator, and Kaytlin Bailey, DSW’s communications director, met with state legislators from all over the country at the National Conference of State Legislatures annual meeting, which was hosted this year in Nashville, TN. DSW handed out fliers, t-shirts and buttons, and we started conversations with lawmakers pressing the…Continue reading DSW Makes Its Case at National Conference of State Legislatures
DSW’s Kaytlin Bailey participated in Nevertheless She Existed, a live show and podcast produced at Caveat Theater. She told the story of Phryne, a famous courtesan in the classical Greek period who defended herself against blasphemy charges by disrobing in front of the all-male jury and declaring her perfect body a gift from the gods….Continue reading Nevertheless She Existed: Kaytlin Bailey Presents a Sex Worker From History
Democratic 2020 Candidates Struggle Over Whether To Legalize Sex Work (CBS News, July 11, 2019) DSW’s Kaytlin Bailey is quoted: “You have violence, you have exploitation, and you have blackmail. You have people operating outside the law, because legal protections are not extended to the entire industry.”
DSW attended the Queer Liberation March and political rally that followed on June 30, organized by the Reclaim Pride Coalition to commemorate the 50-year anniversary of the Stonewall riots. The march took place on the same day as the NYC Pride Parade, which also hosted World Pride this year, but without corporate sponsors or police…Continue reading Queer Liberation March: Pride Without Barriers in NYC
DSW co-sponsored the St. James Infirmary 20th Anniversary Gala held on June 2. Kaytlin Bailey celebrated their incredible work in San Francisco along with hundreds of donors, activists, service providers, and celebrity guests. St. James Infirmary is the first peer-based medical service provider created by and for sex workers. It started as a coalition between…Continue reading St. James Infirmary 20th Anniversary Gala
DSW’s Kaytlin Bailey and Melissa Broudo attended this year’s Law and Society Association Conference in Washington, DC. Bailey attended an incredible meeting hosted by National Ugly Mugs, a peer-based group in the United Kingdom that helps sex workers exchange information about dangerous clients, and Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive (HIPS), a peer-based community support organization in…Continue reading DIGNITY — Law and Society Association Conference
DSW’s Kaytlin Bailey made an appearance on John Stossel’s show to draw attention to what multiple agencies in Florida called a “rescue operation.” All of the women law enforcement claims to have “rescued” from “sex trafficking” are currently facing criminal charges. Robert Kraft’s high-profile hand job drew national media attention to this case, but these…Continue reading Stossel: Moral Panic Over Sex Work
DSW hosted a delightful evening that was both a celebration and a rallying cry at the Cornell Club in NYC. With exquisite performances by Essence Revealed and sweet jams by DJ Mikey Palms, speakers included Dame Catherine Healy (from New Zealand), Ceyenne Doroshow, and DSW’s Kaytlin Bailey. Activists, donors, and reporters came together to celebrate…Continue reading DSW Hosts Unity Reception in NYC
After months of planning and inviting an all-star cast of witnesses, DSW had its first hearing before the House Judiciary Committee of the Rhode Island Legislature. State Rep. Anastasia Williams (D) presented bill H5354, which would create a temporary commission to study the effects of laws prohibiting commercial sexual activity. Approximately 15 witnesses, invited by…Continue reading Experts Urge RI Legislators to Study Decriminalization
Multiple police departments in Florida have recently staged news conferences to cast themselves as heroes who have “rescued” women from “slavery” … by handcuffing them. Devastating stings that result in criminal records and broken families are common, but when Robert Kraft, the widowed owner of the New England Patriots, received a high-profile hand job it…Continue reading DSW Billboard Challenges Lawmakers in Florida
All eyes are on Florida because of the high-profile stings on massage parlors. DSW teamed up with sex workers and allies in Florida to draw attention to what criminalizing sex work actually looks like: vulnerable women in handcuffs. DSW and SWOP Behind Borders staged a news conference in Orlando to push the messages of LISTEN TO…Continue reading Sex Workers Host News Conference in Florida
DSW teamed up with COYOTE RI and allied organizations to educate RI legislators about the negative impact of criminalizing prostitution. DSW’s lobbyists and local RI advocates engaged legislators in one-on-one conversations on the House floor to push for a study commission that would reexamine the state’s prostitution laws. Most RI legislators agreed that the laws…Continue reading DSW & allies lobby RI legislators
DSW teamed up with Alex Andrews from SWOP Behind Bars, Dan Savage, Larry Walters and River del Lano from Uncaged Love to discuss the dangerous implications of SESTA/FOSTA at a panel at SXSW in Austin. SESTA/FOSTA was the federal bill signed into law on April 11, 2018, which shut down services sex workers used to…Continue reading DSW & allies hold SESTA/FOSTA panel at SXSW
DSW hosted in Austin a soiree with Dan Savage, donors, local activists, and panelists, where advocates for decriminalization shared strategies and stories. Libertarians, progressives, harm reduction advocates, anarchists and provocateurs mingled despite their philosophical and tactical differences. Alex Andrews, Kaytlin Bailey & Dan Savage gave a toast to our shared goal of ending the prohibition…Continue reading DSW Hosts Soiree With Dan Savage
DSW hosted a panel at the Seattle Annual Sex Worker Summit after the debut of the documentary War on Whores, which investigates the harms of criminalizing sex work. The film features prolific writer and sex-worker activist Maggie McNeil and Reason Foundation’s Elizabeth Nolan Brown, as they track the alarming institutional shift from the United States’ failed “war…Continue reading DSW Hosts Panel at Seattle Summit
Here is Melissa with COYOTE Rhode Island organizer Bella Robinson. We’re looking forward to being in Rhode Island this Thursday for another lobby day!
DSW drafted and submitted to a federal CA court a spirited amicus brief that challenges the constitutionality of the devastating FOSTA/SESTA law. This “friend of the court” brief was cosigned by an impressive array of organizations, including Sex Workers Project, National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, Brooklyn Defender Services, St. James Infirmary, and other allies. DSW Newsletter Archive
Melissa Broudo got to meet and greet Erika Jayne, one of DSW’s VIPs, when she recently played in Brooklyn, NY, on December 21, 2018. Melissa was able to thank her for her vocal support of sex workers on her show, the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. She is an inspiration to all people to live their…Continue reading VIP With Erika Jayne
Melissa joined providers from Legal Aid Society and Brooklyn Defender Services on a panel on representing sex workers at the Harm Reduction Coalition.
Melissa Broudo and Crystal DeBoise visited Concord, NH, in October 2018 to engage in a series of key meetings to lay the groundwork for legislation.
Kaytlin Bailey led one of the first sex worker canvasses going door to door talking about decriminalization.
Kaytlin Bailey talks to voters on behalf of Julia Salazar, who is one of the first politicians to run (and win) openly supporting sex worker rights.
Melissa participated in a panel discussing federal legislation FOSTA/SESTA and its impact on sex workers, free speech, and the internet.
Melissa coordinated and led a panel discussing diversity of experience within the sex industry at the first-ever sex worker event hosted by MOMA.
Melissa Broudo and members of the sex worker activist community, the NYC stripper strike, and allies marched together in the second Women’s March in NYC.
Melissa has participated in dozens of interviews on video, podcasts, and in print. Here she is being interviewed in her home as part of a video for the website of GLITS, a sex workers’ rights and transgender rights organization for which she serves on the advisory board.
Kaytlin Bailey poses with a red umbrella, the international symbol of sex worker rights, for The Oldest Profession Podcast.
Kaytlin Bailey performs at QED during a show she produced, Sex Worker’s Stand Up.