Day 1 – Sex workers only day – Thursday November 5th – Graeae Theatre, London E2
This is a day of workshops and discussion open to current and former sex workers only. Our goal is to provide a much-needed confidential space for sex workers to reflect, share concerns and experiences and build solidarity across our movement.
We define ‘sex workers’ as people who sell or exchange their own sexual labour or performance (or who have done so in the past). We do not consider managers or bosses to be sex workers. You will not be asked to disclose your real name or discuss your experiences unless you choose to do so.
Filming, photography and live tweeting of the entire day is prohibited, in order to allow a safer, open space for discussion.
9.00 am Free breakfast and welcome
10.00 Panel: Improving advocacy: Whorearchy and cross-movement solidarity
Chaired panel discussion about the oppressive rhetorical strategies we all start out employing and how we can better stand together in solidarity and make our movement more inclusive. Followed by audience Q&A.
12.00 Workshop: Managing burn out
This workshop will focus on how to manage and deal with burn-out in the sex industry via various methods, including self-care, community support, skill-share, and solidarity building.
13.00 Lunch (free buffet provided)
14.00 Workshop: Privilege and Class in the Sex Trade
Within sex worker politics, the work with our colleagues, peer-to-peer structures and public relations, which voices and stories get heard? Who is presented in which ways in the media and who have we excluded with our structures? In this workshop, we will work on our positions and privileges. In which ways do the topics of class and multiple stigmatisation effect our way of acting with each other? How do we change our structures to be more inclusive? This workshop is a place for reflection on our class and privileges. A place to create strategies for a more inclusive way of acting with each other within our sex worker movement.
15.45 Workshop: Sex worker survivors
This workshop is a space for all sex workers, whether they are survivors or not. We aim to create a supportive environment for survivors and a learning environment for all. The term is often used by those who have been victims of abuse and have “survived” it. It has also been recently used by people who define their experience in prostitution as abuse itself and who define themselves as “survivors” of prostitution. This workshop will be an open space to share our understanding of violence, abuse, consent, boundaries from the perspective(s) of sex workers and survivors. Whether you have experienced abuse at home or at work, in childhood or adulthood, we hope to create a space for support and discussion. Please note that the aim of the workshop is to foster conversations on a difficult and often emotional issue. By attending the workshop, you accept the risk of hearing or being exposed to histories of violence and abuse that can themselves be triggering. Please be sure that you can look after yourself or have friends or comrades who can look after you if the workshop is too difficult emotionally.
17.15 Group feedback and close of Day 1
Day 2 – Open conference – Friday November 6th – Graeae Theatre, London E2
This day is a public conference open to all. Graeae Theatre has accessibility as its core and is fully wheelchair accessible. Please don’t hesitate to contact email@example.com about any accessibility requirements that you have and we will work with the venue to ensure your needs are met.
Filming will be allowed on this day, but only of those participants who give their permission.
There will be a supervised on site crèche on both days of the conference, please just drop us an email in advance to let us know how many children you are bringing and any requirements they have.
9.00 am - 9.45 am Breakfast (open to all conference attendees)
Session One: International perspectives and legal models
Representatives of sex worker rights groups from around the world will be given space in this session to lay out the legal model that sex workers operate under in their country and what changes the movement there is working to achieve.
9.45 Opening remarks (SWOU)
9.50 Stewart, SCOTPEP (Scotland)
9.55 Catriona, SWAI (Republic of Ireland)
10.00 Thierry Schaffauser, STRASS (France)
10.05 Catherine Healy, NZPC (New Zealand)
10.10 Jenn Clamen, Stella, l’amie de Maimie (Québec, Canada)
10.15 Paula Ezquerra, Prostitutas Indignadas (Barcelona, Spain)
10.20 Liad Hussein Kantorowicz, Hydra Berlin and the Peer project by Hydra (Berlin, Germany) 10.25 Rachel West, US PROStitutes Collective (USA)
10.30 Liz Hilton, Empower (Thailand)
10.35 Panel discussion
11.15 Audience questions
11.45 Refreshment break
Session Two: Stigma and violence
To begin this session, two service providers focused on harm reduction from a rights-based, rather than a “rescue industry” perspective, will present short case studies of the projects they represent and share their experiences.
12.15 National Ugly Mugs
The UK’s National Ugly Mugs scheme was the first national project to collect and circulate descriptions of dangerous clients, with the goal of reducing violence against sex workers.
Alex Feis-Bryce - Director of Services, NUM
12.25 Open Doors
Open Doors is a free and confidential advice service for people working in the sex industry, based nearby in Homerton Hospital.
Sarah Macauley, Outreach Development Nurse, Open Doors
12.35 Audience questions
12.45 Panel discussion: The Politics of Stigma, The Problem of Work
This discussion will delve into the complexities of the oppression sex workers face, and explore how radical and critical analyses can enrich and strengthen our activism.
- Sex work is work. But is it “a job like any other?”
- Bodies in the public domain
- Feminism and the sex worker rights movement: sites of conflict
- Understanding intersecting oppressions: race, immigration status, LGBT+, disability, gender, class
Molly Smith, sex worker
Charlie Moth, activist
13.30 Lunch break
Session Three: Sex workers and the State
14.45 The Swedish Model: a framework for displacing and deporting sex workers
This presentation will discuss some of the outcomes of Sweden’s criminalisation of the purchase of sex, often termed ‘the Swedish model’. Far from the legislation protecting sex workers from state-sponsored interference and prosecution, sex workers in Sweden are displaced from public space in civil society, and migrant sex workers are deported from Sweden. It will be argued that the legislation was introduced in the context of moral panic in Sweden surrounding migration, and that laws pertaining to sex work are applied selectively, to police and moralise public space and the Swedish nation state.
Dr Jay Levy, researcher
14.55 Audience questions
15.00 Sex workers organising to end criminalisation globally
Following a parliamentary symposium co-ordinated by the English Collective of Prostitutes which brought together international sex worker experts, academics and others to present to MPs and Peers a formidable case for the decriminalisation of sex work, and last year’s defeat of a parliamentary attempt to criminalise clients, this session will discuss how we can work together internationally to defend Amnesty International’s ground-breaking vote for decriminalisation and defeat further attempts to impose a “sex buyer law”.
Niki Adams, English Collective of Prostitutes
16.00 Thank-yous, public announcements and SWOU Film Festival preview
16.30 Close of conference