NY Senate Fails Trafficking Survivors, Again

July 21, 2020

Through our work with the New York Anti-Trafficking Network (NYATN) and the START Coalition (named for this bill), DSW has been tirelessly advocating for the Survivors of Trafficking Attaining Relief Together (START) Act, a bill allowing survivors of trafficking to clear their criminal records of arrests stemming from exploitation. NY-AB 6983 (Gottfried) passed the Assembly 104–38. Despite urging from advocates and activists, Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins failed to bring the Senate version of the bill, sponsored by Sen. Jessica Ramos (D-Queens), to a vote.

The 2019 version of this bill, also sponsored by Assemblymember Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan), passed the Assembly last June. Despite support from immigrant rights groups, public defender organizations, numerous district attorneys, and the NYC Bar Association, the Senate never brought the bill to the floor.

Criminal convictions create enormous barriers in the lives of trafficking survivors. For many, criminal records preclude them from most employment opportunities, public health benefits, and other resources. They also increase the risk of deportation for immigrant survivors, all because they were trafficked. That the Senate continues to stall on this urgent issue, despite having the votes, is a glaring failure of leadership.

In 2010, New York became the first state in the U.S. to allow victims to clear their records of prostitution-related convictions. While working as a staff attorney at the Sex Workers Project in NYC, DSW’s Melissa Broudo won the first motion in the nation to offer relief to survivors of trafficking with criminal convictions. Attorneys for survivors say that, although district attorneys are willing to clear sex-work-related offenses in most cases, the process is long and arduous. But these protections are inadequate to support survivors fully. Traffickers force their victims to perform various crimes in addition to sex work, such as theft, drug use, and trespassing. These charges pose the same collateral consequences but are ineligible for vacatur, a legal term referring to an order that sets aside a judgment or annuls a proceeding.

Mateo Guerrero-Tabares, lead organizer for transgender, gender non-conforming, intersex, and queer (TGNCIQ) justice with Make the Road New York, an immigrants rights group in NYC, told the Queens Daily Eagle that “not removing charges given to survivors of human trafficking — as a result of the coercive environment — specifically for undocumented folks means that they will face a lot more challenges in trying to adjust their immigration status, and therefore drive them more into the shadows and expose them to more danger.”

Advocates will keep fighting. Many, like Broudo and Crystal DeBoise of DSW, have spent their careers supporting survivors in forging a better life, which includes removing prior convictions. “There is a real need to expand vacatur so that the law can allow more survivors to move forward without a burdensome and unjust criminal record, which presents myriad barriers to employment, housing, immigration, and other critical areas. We owe it to survivors to not be continually revictimized and retraumatized by the criminal justice system,” says Broudo.

NY state Sen. Jessica Ramos and Assemblymember Richard Gottfried speak in June of 2019 on the bill they sponsored, which enables survivors of human trafficking to get their criminal records cleared. (Photo: Danielle Blunt/Queens Daily Eagle)

In NY state, trafficking victims may face deportation for offenses they were forced to commit. (Photo: NYATN/Twitter)

DSW Newsletter #17 (August 2020)

Hero(es) of the Month: TS Candii, SX Noir, and Gizelle Marie Organize the Largest Sex Worker March in U.S. History

August 1, 2020 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...
Read More
Hero(es) of the Month: TS Candii, SX Noir, and Gizelle Marie Organize the Largest Sex Worker March in U.S. History

MA Democratic Senate Candidates Are Listening to Sex Workers

August 4, 2020 U.S. Sen. Edward Markey and U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III, rivals in the MA Democratic Senate primary, both voiced their support for the full decriminalization of sex...
Read More
MA Democratic Senate Candidates Are Listening to Sex Workers

NY Senate Fails Trafficking Survivors, Again

July 21, 2020 Through our work with the New York Anti-Trafficking Network (NYATN) and the START Coalition (named for this bill), DSW has been tirelessly advocating for the Survivors of...
Read More
NY Senate Fails Trafficking Survivors, Again

DSW’s Kaytlin Bailey on Sex Work and Police Reform

July 21, 2020 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...
Read More
DSW’s Kaytlin Bailey on Sex Work and Police Reform

DSW Takes Action Against EARN IT

July 22, 2020 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...
Read More
DSW Takes Action Against EARN IT

The Stripper Strike Goes National

June 27, 2020 The Philadelphia Stripper Strike, organized by Stilettos Inc., a local organization promoting labor rights for dancers, hosted a rally at Malcolm X Park. Demonstrators gathered there with...
Read More
The Stripper Strike Goes National
Hero(es) of the Month: TS Candii, SX Noir, and Gizelle Marie Organize the Largest Sex Worker March in U.S. History Hero(es) of the Month: TS Candii,...
MA Democratic Senate Candidates Are Listening to Sex Workers MA Democratic Senate Candidates Are Listening...
NY Senate Fails Trafficking Survivors, Again NY Senate Fails Trafficking Survivors, Again
DSW’s Kaytlin Bailey on Sex Work and Police Reform DSW’s Kaytlin Bailey on Sex Work...
DSW Takes Action Against EARN IT DSW Takes Action Against EARN IT
The Stripper Strike Goes National The Stripper Strike Goes National

DSW Newsletter Archive

MA Democratic Senate Candidates Are Listening to Sex Workers

August 4, 2020

U.S. Sen. Edward Markey and U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III, rivals in the MA Democratic Senate primary, both voiced their support for the full decriminalization of sex work on a criminal justice panel. In this hotly contested race, the candidates have been recognized as having relatively similar policies. Kennedy voiced his belief that “the time has come to decriminalize and legalize sex work.” He also expressed a desire to work with advocates to “ensure the result isn’t a system that makes it easier for sex workers to be exploited.” Markey was quoted as saying, “It’s our responsibility to listen to sex workers and advocates to work together on how to move forward,” in a less explicit, but still encouraging commitment to decriminalization.

Along with fellow advocates and allies, DSW has been working tirelessly to push full decriminalization into national policy discussions. Last year, our organization launched a campaign to educate presidential primary candidates on decriminalization and why it is essential to our nation’s health and safety. We’ve consulted with national and local campaigns crafting their policy positions to center sex workers and their safety.

We know that where and when sex work is decriminalized, violence against women, sexual assault, and STD infections decrease. We know that when sex workers can safely advertise online, using mainstream platforms, female homicide decreases. In New Zealand, where sex work has been entirely decriminalized, decriminalization helps combat trafficking. Still, politicians can resist supporting the full decriminalization of adult consensual sex work publicly.

We are beyond encouraged to see rival candidates endorsing a policy to support sex worker rights and community health and safety. Both Kennedy and Markey have also exhibited a dedication to defending the rights of gig workers across the board, extending extra coronavirus relief payments for workers. Candidates who support sex worker rights, support human rights.

U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III (left) and U.S. Sen. Edward Markey (right) exchange a socially-distanced elbow bump following a debate on August 8, 2020. (Photo: Danny McDonald/Boston Globe)

Both candidates have been outspoken about their support for comprehensive criminal justice reform, giving speeches inside prisons to reach impacted communities. Here, U.S. Sen. Edward Markey talks to inmates on July 7. (Photo: Matt Stone/Boston Herald)

DSW Newsletter #17 (August 2020)

Hero(es) of the Month: TS Candii, SX Noir, and Gizelle Marie Organize the Largest Sex Worker March in U.S. History

August 1, 2020 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...
Read More
Hero(es) of the Month: TS Candii, SX Noir, and Gizelle Marie Organize the Largest Sex Worker March in U.S. History

MA Democratic Senate Candidates Are Listening to Sex Workers

August 4, 2020 U.S. Sen. Edward Markey and U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III, rivals in the MA Democratic Senate primary, both voiced their support for the full decriminalization of sex...
Read More
MA Democratic Senate Candidates Are Listening to Sex Workers

NY Senate Fails Trafficking Survivors, Again

July 21, 2020 Through our work with the New York Anti-Trafficking Network (NYATN) and the START Coalition (named for this bill), DSW has been tirelessly advocating for the Survivors of...
Read More
NY Senate Fails Trafficking Survivors, Again

DSW’s Kaytlin Bailey on Sex Work and Police Reform

July 21, 2020 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...
Read More
DSW’s Kaytlin Bailey on Sex Work and Police Reform

DSW Takes Action Against EARN IT

July 22, 2020 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...
Read More
DSW Takes Action Against EARN IT

The Stripper Strike Goes National

June 27, 2020 The Philadelphia Stripper Strike, organized by Stilettos Inc., a local organization promoting labor rights for dancers, hosted a rally at Malcolm X Park. Demonstrators gathered there with...
Read More
The Stripper Strike Goes National
Hero(es) of the Month: TS Candii, SX Noir, and Gizelle Marie Organize the Largest Sex Worker March in U.S. History Hero(es) of the Month: TS Candii,...
MA Democratic Senate Candidates Are Listening to Sex Workers MA Democratic Senate Candidates Are Listening...
NY Senate Fails Trafficking Survivors, Again NY Senate Fails Trafficking Survivors, Again
DSW’s Kaytlin Bailey on Sex Work and Police Reform DSW’s Kaytlin Bailey on Sex Work...
DSW Takes Action Against EARN IT DSW Takes Action Against EARN IT
The Stripper Strike Goes National The Stripper Strike Goes National

DSW Newsletter Archive

Hero(es) of the Month: TS Candii, SX Noir, and Gizelle Marie Organize the Largest Sex Worker March in U.S. History

August 1, 2020

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 ever to take place in the U.S.

The lead organizers of the event were TS Candii, SX Noir, and Gizelle Marie.

SX Noir is an activist, researcher, podcast host, and vice president of the Women of Sex Tech, a movement championing the intersection of sex work and sex tech. Her podcast, “Thot Leader Pod,” frames the conversation around sex, love, dating, and tech, “holding space for authentic conversations with innovators, influencers, and activists about how we navigate developments in the sex tech industry.” Noir’s work uplifts sex workers through storytelling, looking at the reality of this work in an ever-changing world. Her podcast “aims to unpack how empathy in digital spaces can enhance our human experience in physical spaces” and has featured other movement leaders such as Kate Zen from Red Canary Song and Jacq the Stripper.

TS Candii is a Black transgender woman, sex worker, organizer, political activist, and public speaker. A fixture in the NY sex worker and transgender rights movement, she is an organizer with Decrim NY and the Repeal the #WalkingWhileTrans Ban Coalition. Candii is currently producing a documentary called “Policing Our Bodies,” sharing the experiences that have shaped her life and her identity.

Gizelle Marie is a NY-born dancer and founder of the New York City Stripper Strike. Always active in her community, Gizelle Marie’s organizing work with the Stripper Strike has been the impetus for her becoming a national figure in sex worker rights. The labor movement was launched in October of 2017 to bring awareness to the abuse and discrimination faced by exotic dancers in NYC and around the country.

Many ‘upscale’ clubs engage in racist hiring processes, setting low caps on the number of dancers of color allowed on the floor. In contrast, ‘urban’ clubs, which discriminate less by race, are more dangerous and less profitable for dancers, and generally dancers have to pay high house fees to management and bouncers. The Stripper Strike partnered with DSW’s Melissa Broudo and Crystal DeBoise through their organization, the SOAR Institute, garnering support from the national Women’s March movement. The International Women’s Strike has also spoken out in solidarity with the Stripper Strike.

Collaboration for the event began months ago. Gizelle Marie launched a fundraiser this past June to support Black sex workers amidst the pandemic. As her work gained momentum and support, making a notable difference in the community, the idea for the march followed.

The march featured speakers including DSW’s Ceyenne Doroshow, who highlighted the critical vulnerability of transgender, gender nonconforming, and nonbinary (TGNC) sex workers of color, and how they have prevailed and built community against all odds. Doroshow’s organization, Gays and Lesbians Living In a Transgender Society (G.L.I.T.S.), has been working to establish safe and equitable housing for transgender sex workers in NY. State Sen. Jessica Ramos; Melania Brown, sister of Layleen Polanco; U.S. Congressional candidate Jamaal Bowman; and Manhattan District Attorney candidate Dan Quart also spoke. 

The Times Square rally exhibited the unity and resilience of the sex worker rights movement amidst COVID-19. The march highlighted experiences of sex workers of color, particularly transgender or gender nonconforming folks, who bear the brunt of the stigma and criminalization faced in the industry. But those who showed up represented all corners of sex work, from immigrant massage workers in Queens organized by Red Canary Song, to Melania Brown, sister of Layleen Polanco, a transgender woman who died at Rikers Island while being held on prostitution charges.

In her Instagram post, SX Noir thanked all of those involved: “The mutual aid, legal observers, paramedics, security team, speakers, and volunteers. None of this is possible without you all! We literally took over Times Square!!! To everyone who donated THANK YOU 🙏🏾 as the lead organizer of this event, I am blessed and proud to honor my community with this action. ✊🏾 The fight continues! We are still accepting donations. Link in bio!”

If you are able, please donate to this incredible, ever-growing movement.

The vigil filled Times Square with protesters clad in red, the color of solidarity for sex worker rights. (Photo: @thegizellemarie/Instagram)

Ceyenne Doroshow (left) and Vanessa Warri (right) pictured before Doroshow spoke at the rally. (Photo: @glits_inc/Instagram)

SX Noir addresses protesters, speaking on how tech censorship has targeted, censored, and criminalized sex workers. (Photo: @sxnoir/Instagram)

Gizelle Marie leads the march downtown. (Photo: @thegizellemarie/Instagram)

Demonstrators from Red Canary Song, an organization representing migrant sex workers and survivors, listen to speeches at the rally. (Photo: SWOP Brooklyn)

DSW Newsletter #17 (August 2020)

Hero(es) of the Month: TS Candii, SX Noir, and Gizelle Marie Organize the Largest Sex Worker March in U.S. History

August 1, 2020 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...
Read More
Hero(es) of the Month: TS Candii, SX Noir, and Gizelle Marie Organize the Largest Sex Worker March in U.S. History

MA Democratic Senate Candidates Are Listening to Sex Workers

August 4, 2020 U.S. Sen. Edward Markey and U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III, rivals in the MA Democratic Senate primary, both voiced their support for the full decriminalization of sex...
Read More
MA Democratic Senate Candidates Are Listening to Sex Workers

NY Senate Fails Trafficking Survivors, Again

July 21, 2020 Through our work with the New York Anti-Trafficking Network (NYATN) and the START Coalition (named for this bill), DSW has been tirelessly advocating for the Survivors of...
Read More
NY Senate Fails Trafficking Survivors, Again

DSW’s Kaytlin Bailey on Sex Work and Police Reform

July 21, 2020 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...
Read More
DSW’s Kaytlin Bailey on Sex Work and Police Reform

DSW Takes Action Against EARN IT

July 22, 2020 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...
Read More
DSW Takes Action Against EARN IT

The Stripper Strike Goes National

June 27, 2020 The Philadelphia Stripper Strike, organized by Stilettos Inc., a local organization promoting labor rights for dancers, hosted a rally at Malcolm X Park. Demonstrators gathered there with...
Read More
The Stripper Strike Goes National
Hero(es) of the Month: TS Candii, SX Noir, and Gizelle Marie Organize the Largest Sex Worker March in U.S. History Hero(es) of the Month: TS Candii,...
MA Democratic Senate Candidates Are Listening to Sex Workers MA Democratic Senate Candidates Are Listening...
NY Senate Fails Trafficking Survivors, Again NY Senate Fails Trafficking Survivors, Again
DSW’s Kaytlin Bailey on Sex Work and Police Reform DSW’s Kaytlin Bailey on Sex Work...
DSW Takes Action Against EARN IT DSW Takes Action Against EARN IT
The Stripper Strike Goes National The Stripper Strike Goes National

DSW Newsletter Archive

DSW Takes Action Against EARN IT

July 22, 2020

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 even more dependent on internet security as the coronavirus pandemic forces businesses, healthcare facilities, schools, and other institutions to move online — the EARN IT Act is a sneak ban on encryption that, in reality, does not make anyone safer. Watch DSW’s animation on how the EARN IT Act, now on the Senate floor, would curtail end-to-end encryption and end internet privacy as we know it.

EARN IT would amend Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects online service providers from liability for content posted by their users. That immunity blocks most civil lawsuits and criminal charges under state law (except for sex trafficking) but maintains the tenants of federal regulations.

Under the EARN IT Act, the only way to maintain immunity is for the provider to comply with censorship “best practices” for fighting online sexual exploitation of minors. While this is a critical cause, these best practices would be developed by an “unelected, unaccountable 19-member commission headed by the attorney general, who would have the authority to approve or reject them,” according to Riana Pfefferkorn of the Stanford Center for Internet and Society. These guidelines would then bypass legally mandated deliberative processes to be quickly approved by congress.

Vulnerable people would be more at risk under the EARN IT Act’s mandates. Experts from Human Rights Watch, the ACLU, the Brookings Institution, and more charge that this legislation inappropriately goes after tech companies to solve a problem requiring a holistic social, policy, and enforcement solution. This approach would endanger the security of children, the rights of marginalized groups, and society in general.

DSW Newsletter #17 (August 2020)

Hero(es) of the Month: TS Candii, SX Noir, and Gizelle Marie Organize the Largest Sex Worker March in U.S. History

August 1, 2020 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...
Read More
Hero(es) of the Month: TS Candii, SX Noir, and Gizelle Marie Organize the Largest Sex Worker March in U.S. History

MA Democratic Senate Candidates Are Listening to Sex Workers

August 4, 2020 U.S. Sen. Edward Markey and U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III, rivals in the MA Democratic Senate primary, both voiced their support for the full decriminalization of sex...
Read More
MA Democratic Senate Candidates Are Listening to Sex Workers

NY Senate Fails Trafficking Survivors, Again

July 21, 2020 Through our work with the New York Anti-Trafficking Network (NYATN) and the START Coalition (named for this bill), DSW has been tirelessly advocating for the Survivors of...
Read More
NY Senate Fails Trafficking Survivors, Again

DSW’s Kaytlin Bailey on Sex Work and Police Reform

July 21, 2020 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...
Read More
DSW’s Kaytlin Bailey on Sex Work and Police Reform

DSW Takes Action Against EARN IT

July 22, 2020 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...
Read More
DSW Takes Action Against EARN IT

The Stripper Strike Goes National

June 27, 2020 The Philadelphia Stripper Strike, organized by Stilettos Inc., a local organization promoting labor rights for dancers, hosted a rally at Malcolm X Park. Demonstrators gathered there with...
Read More
The Stripper Strike Goes National
Hero(es) of the Month: TS Candii, SX Noir, and Gizelle Marie Organize the Largest Sex Worker March in U.S. History Hero(es) of the Month: TS Candii,...
MA Democratic Senate Candidates Are Listening to Sex Workers MA Democratic Senate Candidates Are Listening...
NY Senate Fails Trafficking Survivors, Again NY Senate Fails Trafficking Survivors, Again
DSW’s Kaytlin Bailey on Sex Work and Police Reform DSW’s Kaytlin Bailey on Sex Work...
DSW Takes Action Against EARN IT DSW Takes Action Against EARN IT
The Stripper Strike Goes National The Stripper Strike Goes National

DSW Newsletter Archive

DSW’s Kaytlin Bailey on Sex Work and Police Reform

July 21, 2020

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 how decriminalization provides a lens into a critical examination of state-sponsored violence and repression.

The conversation was hosted by Ali Wilkey and Michael Heras, co-chairs of the chapter, as part of Cape Cod DSA’s speaker series on policing, society, and police abolition running throughout the month.

Following her presentation, Bailey led a Q&A in which she fielded questions about gender stereotypes, mutual aid as a support system among sex workers, alternatives to policing, and more. “It was incredibly rewarding to explore these ideas with such a curious group of individuals,” Bailey said. “I felt encouraged by the support we received and look forward to future collaborations!”

Kaytlin Bailey’s presentation was the third in a four-part speaker series entitled “Policing Society.” (Photo: Cape Cod DSA/Instagram)

Bailey describes the critical intersection between sex worker rights, racial and gender justice, and police reform during her July 21 presentation. (Photo: Cape Cod DSA/YouTube)

DSW Newsletter #17 (August 2020)

Hero(es) of the Month: TS Candii, SX Noir, and Gizelle Marie Organize the Largest Sex Worker March in U.S. History

August 1, 2020 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...
Read More
Hero(es) of the Month: TS Candii, SX Noir, and Gizelle Marie Organize the Largest Sex Worker March in U.S. History

MA Democratic Senate Candidates Are Listening to Sex Workers

August 4, 2020 U.S. Sen. Edward Markey and U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III, rivals in the MA Democratic Senate primary, both voiced their support for the full decriminalization of sex...
Read More
MA Democratic Senate Candidates Are Listening to Sex Workers

NY Senate Fails Trafficking Survivors, Again

July 21, 2020 Through our work with the New York Anti-Trafficking Network (NYATN) and the START Coalition (named for this bill), DSW has been tirelessly advocating for the Survivors of...
Read More
NY Senate Fails Trafficking Survivors, Again

DSW’s Kaytlin Bailey on Sex Work and Police Reform

July 21, 2020 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...
Read More
DSW’s Kaytlin Bailey on Sex Work and Police Reform

DSW Takes Action Against EARN IT

July 22, 2020 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...
Read More
DSW Takes Action Against EARN IT

The Stripper Strike Goes National

June 27, 2020 The Philadelphia Stripper Strike, organized by Stilettos Inc., a local organization promoting labor rights for dancers, hosted a rally at Malcolm X Park. Demonstrators gathered there with...
Read More
The Stripper Strike Goes National
Hero(es) of the Month: TS Candii, SX Noir, and Gizelle Marie Organize the Largest Sex Worker March in U.S. History Hero(es) of the Month: TS Candii,...
MA Democratic Senate Candidates Are Listening to Sex Workers MA Democratic Senate Candidates Are Listening...
NY Senate Fails Trafficking Survivors, Again NY Senate Fails Trafficking Survivors, Again
DSW’s Kaytlin Bailey on Sex Work and Police Reform DSW’s Kaytlin Bailey on Sex Work...
DSW Takes Action Against EARN IT DSW Takes Action Against EARN IT
The Stripper Strike Goes National The Stripper Strike Goes National

DSW Newsletter Archive

The Stripper Strike Goes National

June 27, 2020

The Philadelphia Stripper Strike, organized by Stilettos Inc., a local organization promoting labor rights for dancers, hosted a rally at Malcolm X Park. Demonstrators gathered there with picnic blankets, signs, and cash to tip the dancers performing throughout the day. DSW’s Rae Wilkins attended the event.

Amidst nationwide protests to put an end to the legacy of white supremacy and police profiling, demonstrations for strippers’ rights have also been emerging. In Los Angeles, NYC, Minneapolis, Portland, and beyond, communities have mobilized to protest a variety of injustices in the adult entertainment industry in the form of “Stripper Strikes,” a sex worker resistance movement.

The Philadelphia protest was a beautiful show of solidarity between sex workers and allies. Toward the end of the event, each member of Stilettos Inc. gave a short speech about their own experiences, goals for the organization, and hopes for the future. While they haven’t released a formal list of demands yet, the organization’s primary goals include equal employment opportunity and representation for BIPOC dancers, safer working conditions and properly installed equipment, and protection from sexual violations in the workplace.

Last year the CA state legislature passed a law that classified independent contractors, including strippers, as formal employees. The decision sought to provide more protections for informal employees, but in reality, contracts harmed dancers’ agency. Under the new law, management was able to withhold tips, demand high house fees, and regulate how much the dancers were paid. As a result, the organization Soldiers of Pole was formed in the Los Angeles area, founded by stripper and UCLA Extension teacher Antonia Crane, to advocate for unionization and worker protections.

In Portland, the Haymarket Pole Collective and PDX Stripper Strike, both founded by activist Cat Hollis, have mobilized to successfully pressure over 30 strip clubs to adopt racial justice and non-discrimination policies. The legislation’s goal is to level the playing field for black dancers and fight predatory management structures. The organization has grown to include members in 18 states across the country.

The New York City Stripper Strike was started by Gizelle Marie of the Bronx in 2017. Gizelle Marie has since partnered with organizations, including the SOAR Insitute and the International Women’s Strike U.S., to uplift Black strippers and other sex workers alike. The New York City Stripper Strike cites many of the same grievances shared by those in other cities including racism from management and staff members, discrimination based on race or body type in the hiring process, race quotas, bartenders and “bottle girls” stealing tips meant for dancers, and sexual harassment.

Many movements have already impacted club dynamics, but systemic racism and misogyny persist. As Black Lives Matter gains momentum and demands systemic change, we must fight for adult entertainment reform. To support Stilettos Inc.’s mutual aid fund or to apply for their cash giveaway, click here.

Demonstrators at the Philadelphia Stripper Strike gather for a picture in Malcolm X Park. (Photo: Stilettos Inc./Instagram)

Organizers from Stilettos Inc. deliver remarks towards the end of the event and thank attendees for their solidarity. (Photo: Stilettos Inc./Instagram)

DSW’s Rae Wilkins (left) and a friend toast to the demonstration. (Photo: DSW)

DSW Newsletter #17 (August 2020)

Hero(es) of the Month: TS Candii, SX Noir, and Gizelle Marie Organize the Largest Sex Worker March in U.S. History

August 1, 2020 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...
Read More
Hero(es) of the Month: TS Candii, SX Noir, and Gizelle Marie Organize the Largest Sex Worker March in U.S. History

MA Democratic Senate Candidates Are Listening to Sex Workers

August 4, 2020 U.S. Sen. Edward Markey and U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III, rivals in the MA Democratic Senate primary, both voiced their support for the full decriminalization of sex...
Read More
MA Democratic Senate Candidates Are Listening to Sex Workers

NY Senate Fails Trafficking Survivors, Again

July 21, 2020 Through our work with the New York Anti-Trafficking Network (NYATN) and the START Coalition (named for this bill), DSW has been tirelessly advocating for the Survivors of...
Read More
NY Senate Fails Trafficking Survivors, Again

DSW’s Kaytlin Bailey on Sex Work and Police Reform

July 21, 2020 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...
Read More
DSW’s Kaytlin Bailey on Sex Work and Police Reform

DSW Takes Action Against EARN IT

July 22, 2020 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...
Read More
DSW Takes Action Against EARN IT

The Stripper Strike Goes National

June 27, 2020 The Philadelphia Stripper Strike, organized by Stilettos Inc., a local organization promoting labor rights for dancers, hosted a rally at Malcolm X Park. Demonstrators gathered there with...
Read More
The Stripper Strike Goes National
Hero(es) of the Month: TS Candii, SX Noir, and Gizelle Marie Organize the Largest Sex Worker March in U.S. History Hero(es) of the Month: TS Candii,...
MA Democratic Senate Candidates Are Listening to Sex Workers MA Democratic Senate Candidates Are Listening...
NY Senate Fails Trafficking Survivors, Again NY Senate Fails Trafficking Survivors, Again
DSW’s Kaytlin Bailey on Sex Work and Police Reform DSW’s Kaytlin Bailey on Sex Work...
DSW Takes Action Against EARN IT DSW Takes Action Against EARN IT
The Stripper Strike Goes National The Stripper Strike Goes National

DSW Newsletter Archive