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 familiar with how police routinely target and violate Black and brown bodies.
People of color, particularly trans women of color, are overwhelmingly stereotyped by law enforcement, brutalized, and arrested for sex work-related crimes. We know that the criminalization of sex work fails to protect trafficking survivors, compromises access to resources, endangers public health, and allows violence against sex workers to go unchecked. Black trans and cis women selling sexual services have historically been targets of violence. Police are often the perpetrators of this violence, or they turn a blind eye, labeling the crimes as “NHI” (no human involved).
DSW stands in solidarity with Black Lives Matter:
* We are marching in the streets to demand divestment from law enforcement, police accountability, and justice for far too many unjust murders.
* We are supporting incredible community fundraisers to provide aid and space for Black sex workers. These funds include, but are not limited to, a donation page for Gizelle Marie of the NYC Stripper’s Strike to help create housing and resources for strippers and other sex workers of color nationwide, the GLITS lease fundraiser to provide housing and healthcare for transgender people of color who have been recently released from Rikers Island, and The Black Sex Workers’ Collective donation drive, which also has a housing initiative.
* We are working with legislators to support bills that defend Black lives, such as the repeal of the ban on loitering for the purposes of prostitution (“walking while trans”) in New York State.
When sex work is criminalized, racism thrives. People of color are systematically excluded from harm reduction services, such as healthcare and violence prevention. Instead, individuals are criminalized for trying to survive in a world that fails to make space for them. This month is Pride Month; there is no pride for some of us without justice for all of us.