Category: Media Analysis

No Simple Solutions: State Violence and the Sex Trades

An INCITE! affiliate carefully unpacks the ways in which law and policy affects youth, especially LGBTQ and youth of color, in a response to Rinku Sen’s article in Colorlines. “There are no simple answers,” comments the INCITE! affiliate and collective of radical women of color, queer people of color and Indigenous people who identify as people in the sex trade. The INCITE! affiliate response illustrates that “current ways of thinking about trafficking and the sex trade make LGBTQ youth invisible” and that New York City’s Safe Harbor Act fails youth, and builds a critique of Rinku Sen’s depiction of the “simple solutions” offered by GEMS (a New York City based program for girls).

Sex workers murdered on Long Island, New York, 2011

Press coverage of violence against sex workers and people in the sex trade is often sensationalized and insensitive. In April 2011, the New York Times (NYT) chose to present the murders of women on Long Island differently. The article “Prostitutes’ Disappearances Were Noticed Only When the First Bodies Were Found” takes the time to illustrate the details of the missing women’s lives, humanizing them and critiquing the idea that they were “disposable.” Twenty four year old Shannan Gilbert was last seen in a community a few miles from where four bodies were found and is still missing. “Ms Gilbert was a prostitute, but much more,” wrote Manny Fernandez of the New York Times who added that “she was an aspiring actress, and the oldest of Mari Gilbert’s three daughters.” 

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Lawsuits against restrictive USAID Policy

In 2003 new legislation was passed that allowed the US government to restrict NGOs in regards to what they can do and say about working with sex workers. Darby Hickey analyses the latest development on this issue, a lawsuit against the restriction from the Open Society Institute and affiliates.

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USAID Prostitution “loyalty oath” found unconstitutional in two courts

Two lawsuits against the US government over the so-called prostitution “loyalty oath” have ended with rulings favoring organizations that sued to defend their freedom of speech. In separate rulings, judges in the Southern New York US District Court and District of Columbia US District court found the requirement that all recipients of USAID money to sign a pledge “opposing prostitution and sex trafficking” to be an unconstitutional infringement on the rights of the organizations, DKT International and Open Society Institute.

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