We, the members of COYOTE LA and ISWFACE, wish to express our deepest condolences to the friends and families of two of our colleagues, Petite Jasmine and Dora Ozer, whose murders were a direct result of the worldwide campaign and stigma against sex work and sex workers and the criminalization of any aspect of consenting adult commercial sex.
We stand with you and all our colleagues everywhere in demanding the decriminalization of our work, of our clients, of our associates- and removal of any and all laws which result in the removal of our children from us because we are thought to be incapable of autonomy and rational choice; removal of laws which give law enforcement officers the power to arbitrarily make arrests or threaten to arrest us or our clients or our family members if we do not provide them with sexual or monetary favors.
It is unconscionable that any government continue to infantilize the adult men, women and transgendered persons who choose- for whatever reason, including financial necessity – to earn a living in the commercial sex industry.
‘Financial necessity’ is not a reason to disallow what we consider a choice- which, for most of us, is the best option among few or many other options. ‘Financial necessity’ is what motivates EVERY worker everywhere who is not born into wealth and must not be used as proof that we did not ‘choose’ our work.
The long and historical record of crimes perpetrated against us because of who we are ought to outweigh the ideologically biased arguments postulated by both the far left and religious right- which are used by the governments which subscribe to their specious arguments to ‘control’ us, to prosecute us, to destroy our lives- in the name of protecting us “for our own good.”
Every fallacious rationalization used by groups with a moral or social agenda to continue the crusade against us and our work was previously applied to gays, lesbians, bi-sexual and transgendered persons, which led to the same horrendous violations of rights that we still experience every day. Most governments and individuals recognized the harm such laws and stigma inflicted on those groups – of which many of our colleagues are also a part – and repealed the laws in order for self- identified LGBTQI persons to exercise their human and civil rights.
It is time to repeal the laws which make it impossible for us to exercise our rights, and which allow the kinds of violence seen in the murders of Petite Jasmine and Dora Ozer and so many other sex workers whose murders go unsolved and whose murderers go unpunished.
Norma Jean Almodovar,
Executive Director, COYOTE LA
July 18th, 2013