In the Booth with Ruth – Jemima, Sex Worker, Writer and Student

Jemima, a sex worker, discusses the advantages of the sex workers’ rights and anti-sex trafficking movements working together.

Ruth Jacobs

Jemima Red Parasols line El Tiradito at SWOP-Tucson’s 2013 International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers Event
Photo Credit: C. Elliott

Could you share how you became involved in the sex worker rights movement and why it’s so important to you?

It honestly was Twitter for me. I was a sex worker, but like most isolated by the nature of the work. Whilst I knew the law as it applied to me I was unaware there were people campaigning to change the laws, or that other countries had different systems, many of which were a lot worse than the UK. I started talking to and reading other sex workers writings, and attended a few events. Realising that I was not alone was such a huge moment for me.

The isolation of sex workers, and the way it feeds into our various oppressions, increases stigma, makes it less likely for crimes…

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In the Booth with Ruth – Pye Jakobsson, Sex Workers’ Rights Activist from Sweden

Pye Jakobsson, a dedicated activist fighting for the human rights of marginalised groups, discusses the advantages of the sex workers’ rights and anti-sex trafficking movements working together.

Ruth Jacobs

Pye Jakobsson - Sex Workers' Rights Activist

Pye Jakobsson is a former sex worker, presently taking a break from sex work while working in HIV-prevention. Her current roles include Project Manager at Hiv-Sverige/HIV-Sweden, Co-Founder and Coordinator at Rose Alliance, an NGO by and for current and former sex and erotic workers in Sweden, and President of The Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP), which advocates for rights based health and social services, freedom from abuse and discrimination, and self determination for sex workers.

Could you share how you became involved in the sex workers’ rights movement and why it’s so important to you?

I actually started out in the HIV-rights movement in Portugal in the ’80s. When I moved back to Sweden in 1994 I was quite shocked at the judgmental and infantilizing attitudes there was against sex workers and just started doing activism on my own. I was quite naïve I guess as it was sort of…

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Dr Jay Levy, Researcher and Consultant, discusses the outcomes of the criminalisation of the purchase of sex in Sweden

Ruth Jacobs

Dr Jay Levy conducted research in Sweden over several years on the outcomes of the criminalisation of the purchase of sex. His research and political interests include outcomes of sex work legislation and discourse; outcomes of drug legislation and discourse; feminist theory, gender theory, and queer theory; harm reduction, HIV/AIDS, STI, and blood-borne infection policy and law.

Some of his relevant work includes:

Levy, J., forthcoming, Criminalising the Purchase of Sex – Lessons of the Swedish Model (Routledge)

Levy, J., Swedish Abolitionism as Violence Against WomenSex Worker Open University (SWOU) Sex Worker’s Rights Festival, Glasgow , 6 April, 2013 (published online)

Levy, J., Impacts of Swedish Criminalisation of the Purchase of Sex on Sex WorkersBritish Society of Criminology Annual Conference, Northumbria University, 3-6 July, 2011 (published online in English and French (translation))

“In the Booth with Ruth – Dr Jay Levy, Researcher and Consultant” Produced…

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Knowing the difference between sex-trafficking & sex work – A survivor speaks | WNN Features

529-UNITED_STATES_SexWorkersProtestSanFrancisco_ImageEliyaFlickrcc

With a goal in 2008 of showing the public that the ‘chosen’ career for sex workers versus those who suffer under forced sex-trafficking exploitation are two very distinctly different things, sex workers rally in protest for “rights to work legally” as they make a loud statement on the steps of the City Hall Building in downtown San Francisco, California (U.S.). In 2014 sex workers in the U.S. continue to feel that strong laws and legal rights are needed to protect their personal safety. Image Eliya/Flickr

Published on Women News Network – 16 January 2014

(WNN) London, UK, WESTERN EUROPE: When Ruth Jacobs had a chance to sit and interview Ms. Jes Richardson, a former sex worker, sex-trafficking survivor and sex worker rights activist, what Jacobs came away with was a unique unforgettable inside look at an industry where the definition of ‘exploitation’ needs to be carefully considered and defined, especially by those abolitionists working to stop human trafficking worldwide.

“Sex sells. There is no denying those two little words pack a mean right hook. Sex is used to sell everything from flame-broiled cheeseburgers to designer jeans. But god-forbid, actually selling sex,” outlines Richardson. “The sex industry includes two major demographics of people who are widely segregated. Sex workers are viewed by society as helpless souls who can’t possibly make healthy choices because they are victims and in desperate need of rescue. Trafficking survivors are viewed as pity cases who are incapable of doing much of anything besides art or sewing, and a pretty bedroom will solve the issues of complex trauma,” she continued.

“Both views are wrong but it’s hard to hear the voices of sex workers and trafficking survivors through the billowing echoes of the ‘voice of the voiceless’,” she added.

Richardson shares her insights, wisdom and honest ‘insider’ experience during a fascinating interview with journalist Ruth Jacobs… Read the full article on Women News Network here.

In the Booth with Ruth – Jes Richardson, Sex Trafficking Survivor, Former Sex Worker and Anti-Sex Trafficking & Sex Worker Rights Activist

Ruth Jacobs

Jes Richardson

How did you become involved in the movement against sex trafficking and sexual exploitation?

I first heard of sex trafficking four years ago. I was attending a District Meeting with a volunteer organization where the luncheon speaker was presenting on International and Domestic Sex Trafficking. As he presented, I realized for the first time that I had experienced trafficking and my abuse wasn’t my fault. Adding to the realization, I had been trafficked in the hotel where the District Meeting was being held, twelve years prior. At that moment, I knew I had to speak. I needed to share my journey. If I didn’t have awareness of what I had experienced, then how many other people shared those same experiences? This began my quest for a deeper understanding of the language surrounding my own journey and how we can be most effective in stopping trafficking.

You are also concerned in…

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Coming Back from Soul Destruction – Ruth Jacobs interviewed on Women Move the Soul

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Published on Women Move the Soul – 29 October 2013

We know them. We all know a woman who struggles with drugs and alcohol. Perhaps she’s a woman in your family, a friend or even a co-worker, but we know them. If you have not been a drug addict then you cannot know what they go through. You can’t imagine the pain they feel from moment to moment and the things that they are driven to do because of that addiction…. Ruth Jacobs has been there – in the very recesses of hell – and she came back to us… Read the full article on Women Move the Soul here.

Michelle Morgan, an artist and a survivor of prostitution, meets me to share about her art and her life after one month out of the sex trade

Ruth Jacobs

Michelle was only seventeen years old when she entered prostitution. She has been trying to break free from the life for some time and now, at twenty, after meeting other exited women, she has been out of the sex trade for one month. She shares her art, what inspires her and her plans for the future.

More about Michelle’s art and activism can be read on her blog http://michellemorganart.wordpress.com.

“In the Booth with Ruth – Michelle Morgan” Produced by Matthew Lynch (www.jlfilmandmedia.com) Music – Beautiful View by Carmen Caserta (www.carmencaserta.com) & Why Carry On by Barb Jungr and Russell Churney (www.barbjungr.com)

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