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Re-Visioning Prostitution Policy: Creating Space for Sex Worker Rights and Challenging Criminalisation


Presented by the Desiree Alliance, July 2006 Las Vegas, Nevada.

In conjunction with BAYSWAN, SWOP-USA, COYOTE, Best Practices Policy Project, in collaboration with University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Department of Sociology and Department of Women's Studies and the Women's Research Institute of Nevada

Deadline for submissions: March 1, 2006

Please send submissions to:

Call For Papers and Workshop Proposals:

A coalition of sex workers, social scientists, professional sex educators, health professionals and their supporting networks announce a conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, July 9-12 2006. You can join the conference organizing group and participate in the process by emailing Stacey Swimme

This conference will bring together sex workers and sex worker advocates and allies interested in working toward decriminalization of prostitution in the U.S., to provide training/networking resources for advocates, to create spaces for dialogue among workers, supporters, academics and policy makers, to identify workers' most pressing needs and to collaborate on strategies for social and political change on local, state, and national levels. The focus is to develop strategies and leadership skills for ending the criminalization of sex work and sex workers. The goal is to empower sex workers and their advocates/allies with the knowledge, strength, confidence, and capacity to put these practices into action. We invite paper submissions and proposals for workshops addressing social, cultural, economic, political and strategic issues regarding the decriminalization of prostitution.

Specifically we invite papers addressing:

  • Analyses of existing policies surrounding sex work and their social, cultural and economic affects
  • Social, cultural, or economic analyses of alternatives to criminalization of sex work internationally
  • Analyses of, and experiences with, alternatives to criminalization of sex work including variants of decriminalization and legalization
  • Demographic analyses of existing forms of prostitution in the United States
  • Workplace issues relevant to sex work, including unionization, professionalization, licensing, health, customer relations, dealing with employers
  • Negative impacts of prostitution policies on workers including stigma, stress, fear and impact of arrest, violence, burnout
  • Public opinion polls on prostitution and other strategies to develop voter support for alternatives to criminalization
  • Strategies for working with property owners, the public, and policy makers to develop political allies
  • Alternatives to criminalization, current trends, pitfalls and progress, framing the discussion
  • Working with the criminal justice system on alternatives to criminalization
  • The effects of punitive policies which target clients (John schools, shaming and billboard campaigns, curb crawler policies, etc.)
  • Specific current issues such as mandatory HIV testing, the "anti-prostitution loyalty oath" regarding funding in the context of trafficking and HIV prevention, efforts to increase criminalization of commercial sex in federal law and other issues

We're also accepting proposals for practical workshops including, but not limited to the following subjects:

  • Advocacy and Outreach
  • How to build local networks of Sex Workers and supporters.
  • How to identify and participate in existing networks. How to represent the broader voice of a marginalized segment of society.
  • Peer-based outreach.
  • How to set up Know Your Rights and Advocacy trainings in your region. Court Support.
  • Empowering under-represented communities within the sex industry.
  • Fundraising/Grant-writing
  • How to raise money for projects that aim to decriminalize prostitution.
  • How to get funding for an existing organization.
  • How to get seed money to create an organization.
  • Self-Defense Training
  • Protecting Our Families
  • Custody rights, legal guardianship, having an emergency plan, and other family issues.
  • Health/Safety Issues for Workers
  • Drugs
  • safe-sex
  • personal choice
  • mandatory STD screening
  • Direct Services
  • Identifying and serving the needs of our local communities.
  • Legal/Political strategies for decriminalization
  • Grassroots organizing models
  • Methods of political reform
  • Strategies for social change.
  • Labor Organizing
  • How unions work, benefits, strategies, how-to, etc.
  • Lobbying: Who to talk to. What to say. Lobbying packets. How it works. How to dress. Where to go. When to go.
  • Lobbying campaigns.
  • Media Training: Who should talk to the media? How to write a press release. Creating a press list.
  • Creating talking points and sound bites. Know your audience. Organizing press conferences.

Please include with your proposal: Your name and affiliation (if any) Background/Experience (One paragraph summarizing your interest in or experience with the sex industry) One paragraph summary of research/workshop Outline of research/workshop

updated 17th Jan 2006