The ACLU of Pennsylvania is advocating for the decriminalization of sex work in Philadelphia. The first stage of this campaign is to identify the challenges that impacted individuals experience due to the criminalization of "survival" sex work. There is limited data that supports how criminalizing sex work affects a person's ability to secure opportunities for employment, housing, adoption, or just live life in their community. We believe it is important to discuss how experienced sex workers in the Philadelphia area are impacted by oppressive and discriminatory systems and, as a result, often end up in the criminal legal system for trying to survive and secure basic needs.
What is Decriminalization?
Decriminalization means taking an act that is illegal and removing criminal penalties; for example, you don't get a criminal record for speeding, although you still have to pay the fine.
What is Sex Work?
Sex work may be formal or informal. In some instances, sex work is only a temporary informal activity. People who have occasional commercial sexual transactions or where sex is exchanged for food, shelter, or protection (survival sex) would not consider themselves to be linked with formal sex work. Occasional sex work takes place where sex is exchanged for basic, short-term economic needs and this is less likely to be a formal, full-time occupation. Commercial sex work may be conducted formally in organized settings from sites such as brothels, nightclubs, and massage parlors; or more informally by commercial sex workers who are street-based or self-employed.
Have you ever engaged in sex work?
Help us decriminalize sex work and end stigma around the occupation.