Dear Madam VP Elect: An Open Letter to Kamala Harris from a Sex Worker
Last Saturday morning I was laying in bed and checked the Huffington Post — 284 Biden and 214 Trump. I texted my best friend immediately, a sex worker and well versed politico, who responded;
“Yes! They’re calling Biden President Elect Biden on the news!”
I was ecstatic and somewhat in disbelief, because personally I was sure Trump’s dirty pool tactics would get him another four years in office.
Madam VP Elect, your win as a woman and especially as a woman of color is absolutely historical and worthy of excitement. But as a sex worker, it is a mixed bag for me.
Your history with our sex working communities has been ambivalent, at best, and a complete disaster at worst. This being what it is, sex workers have still done a lot of work to get you and President Elect Biden into the White House. Sex workers, those who are able, are typically deeply political people, because our identities are so maligned. So many current and former sex workers that I know really worked hard for the Biden/Harris campaign. We have done this despite the ways in which you and the policies you have promoted have impacted us.
You have never formally apologized for the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act of 2018, which has rolled back Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 and essentially allowed for mass conflation between sex trafficking and sex work and prosecution of sex workers as sex traffickers. You have never apologized for leading the maligning of Backpage dot com, a venue that most sex workers, especially lower income sex workers and sex workers of color relied upon. You have never apologized for the mishandling of Celeste Guap’s case, a sex worker who was being raped, abused and exploited by over 50 cops within the Oakland Police Department. Ms. Guap’s case just sat on your desk, unaddressed, because the exploiters and traffickers in question were the police, and maybe you saw Celeste as bearing the fault for being a sex worker?
To be fair, it is not you alone who should shoulder the blame for these things. I voted for Bernie Sanders in the primaries, and he voted yes on SESTA too. There were other politicians and legislators who supported SESTA, but you were a key player in the…