She was 17 when she was rescued from a dance bar. Now she's 18 and she wants to go back. As an adult. And dance again. That's what Alisha wrote in a letter to the Child Welfare Committee. Alisha’s letter may be one of a kind. It doesn’t matter. It may even be a scam of sorts, in that she was pushed to write it. Doesn't matter. What’s interesting is the jumble that it throws up, if you look at her choices through eyes that are not hers.
The feminist classic sex work vs prostitution debate was played out in this context in a way that was different from what happens in cis feminist spaces. In the eyes of this narrator, cis feminists who have never engaged in sex work have a lot to learn from travestis and trans women. First of all: the respect.
Not only has evolving discourse on sexuality influenced the fate of how sex work is understood, but also with the growth of sex workers’ rights movements, discourses on sex work are now being able to influence how we think about sexuality. In our issues on Sex Work and Sexuality this month, we hope to be able to traverse some of these convergences.
Is business work? Can business that involves providing sexual services be understood as work? If work is any mental or physical activity performed for a result, then for the individual performing the activity sex work is work. If work is any activity performed as a means of survival, then sex work is work.
I’m convinced we’re having the wrong conversation around digital porn. If we really want to have a meaningful conversation around porn, it’s time we stopped talking about its imagined harms. It’s time we started talking about actual harms. It’s time we started talking about the fault lines of consent.
Special Court No. 54 is a hall filled with whizzing ceiling fans. When the magistrate enters or exits, people rise to bow. Lawyers in black coats and white pants or saree/suit, sit at a long desk in plastic chairs a level below the magistrate with a clutch of researchers like myself, and anti-trafficking missionaries who “rescue fallen women”.