The Unsuspecting Faces of Sex Work

Sex work is one of the oldest jobs in history, so why is it so taboo to us? True sex work is safe, clean, enjoyable, empowering, and most importantly, consensual. People of all genders, races, and shapes have been able to find comfort in the sex worker community. Besides the fact that no one should be legally told what to do with their bodies, making sex work legal would actually create benefits for our society.

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Decriminalizing sex work helps guard against violence and abuse. Many sex workers are afraid of the consequences if they report crimes to the police, leaving many isolated and at risk. Sex workers being able to report crimes without fear can help get some very dangerous people off the streets.

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Legalizing sex work also gives greater access to health care programs (such as STD testing, yearly check-ups, birth control, condoms, etc), which helps reduce the risk of HIV/AIDS.

Legalizing sex work promotes healthy and safe working conditions.  Places that have legalized sex work have allowed for sex workers to address risk factors, insist upon good working conditions, be able to set stricter boundaries with both bosses and clients, and more.

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Decriminalizing sex work will help minimize sex trafficking. By making sex work more available (or legal), it automatically reduces the need for forced labor. By making it legal it will also help by being able to more easily identify when someone is being forced into it.

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When freed from the criminal penalties, sex workers are able to organize and come together with law enforcement to help protect not only sex workers, but also people who have been trafficked.

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It needs to be legalized because it’s also a human rights violation. No government should be able to control what or how people use their own bodies.

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The sex worker community is filled with diverse, loving, and spectacular people, all from different backgrounds who all have their own reasons for wanting to be in the sex work industry.

We need to start acknowledging that sex work is real, and to not be afraid of it. Which is why this photoshoot is so important to me. I got the opportunity to collaborate with talented sex workers who all lead very different lives, are all happy with their jobs, and are all on different ends of the sex worker spectrum. Some of them also have other jobs outside of the sex work industry. Sex workers are real people with lives, families, and responsibilities. Sex work is real work, and people shouldn’t be shamed for being involved in the industry. Emma Parla-Aziz, photographer.

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Jasmine Regan @bunniesallaroundme

Kirst Callahan @kirstcallahan

Salena McAlarney @switchblade_sadie

Kasondra Williams @redeyedsouljah

Mercedes Cowan @sadieeee33

Rope: Kirst Callahan @kirstcallahan

Photographer: Emma Parla-Aziz @skyclad_creations

Read more: Flu$h: Removing Outdated Concepts of Sex Work and Sexuality


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