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Sex Workers Face Unique Challenges When Trying to Unionize
Dec 01 – Dec 14, 2022
black sex workers

In many ways, working in the sex industry is like running a small business. From the hours spent on website maintenance, photography and video editing, ad copywriting, and social media marketing to the emotional labor involved in vetting difficult or demanding clients, many sex workers would agree with the common refrain, “there are no days off!” to describe the hustle and grind of their profession.

However, for sex workers in particular, who are especially likely to be part of a disenfranchised demographic, there is no safety net in case of failure. The alleged “stain” of sex work is increasingly difficult to wash out in an era of repressive legislation, social media, and technological surveillance.

The permanent digital footprint of social media aside, the technological trails left by apps like AirBnB and Tinder, as well as payment processors that trade purchasing data for ad sales, leave indelible marks on those who work in the world of commercialized sex. According to Dr. Olivia Snow, a writer, professor, and research fellow for the UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry, this digital scarlet letter transcends legality.

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