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.

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My most in depth article arguing for the Merseyside model to be made UK wide – The F-Word

protest as part of the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers uploaded by Flickr user Steve Rhodes.

Protest as part of the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers
Image by Flickr user Steve Rhodes

Published on The F-Word – 19 August 2013

Most sex workers find it difficult to report rape or violence because of the stigma associated with prostitution. Ruth Jacobs argues for a model that treats crimes against sex workers as hate crimes, a model that has been successful in increasing reporting of crimes and convictions in Merseyside. Read the full article on The F-Word here.