SEX WORKERS & COMMUNITY PROTEST TO OPPOSE FOSTA/SESTA Harmful legislation does nothing to support sex workers or survivors of trafficking

OAKLAND, CA: On June 2, International Sex Worker’s Day, communities from all over the country will gather to advocate for the health, safety, and protection of sex workers in the wake of FOSTA / SESTA (Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act and Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act) legislation. Bay Area Pros Support (BAPS) and St. James Infirmary along with other community organizations and supporters will gather at Oscar Grant Plaza in Downtown Oakland to support Bay Area residents who deserve respect and safety during this heightened political time.

Cary Escovedo, HIV Services Manager at St. James Infirmary, a clinic run for and by sex workers, says, “When sex work and sex trafficking are conflated, there is harm done to both populations. FOSTA does nothing to help survivors of sex trafficking, rather pushing it deeper underground. And it puts consenting adult sex workers in danger. Without safe ways to advertise and screen clients, many providers are going to the streets into unsafe situations.”

Organizers of the protest Arabelle Raphael and Maxine Holloway, who are sex workers and sex worker advocates say that sex worker justice is inherently tied to the justice of Black and Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC), LGBTQ, disabled, undocumented, poor or low-income, and drug using communities. “We live in a time where civil liberties are threatened by legislation and doctrine,” they say. “From net neutrality, Black Lives Matter, the Bay’s housing crisis, to immigration laws, marginalized groups are experiencing heightened levels of persecution and violence. It is crucial that we recognize sex workers within these struggles.”

A press conference at 1 p.m. features Celeste Guap, The Electronic Frontier Foundation, St. James Infirmary, and more.

Sex Worker Rights Rally & March, Saturday, June 2, 2018, Noon-4pm, Oscar Grant Plaza, 1 Frank H Ogawa Plz, Downtown Oakland, CA 94612, b/t San Pablo Ave & 15th St

Bay Area Pros Support (BAPS) A group of Bay Area advocates that fight for the health, safety and livelihoods of sex workers post-FOSTA/SESTA legislation. We are organizing our community resources, skill-sets, knowledge, and power to provide: Support & resources for Bay Area workers; Immediate relief/connections for emergency needs; Strategic actions around sex worker safety, media advocacy, and policy.