Catriona O'Brien, Chamindra Weerawardhana, Gracie Mae Bradley, Juno Mac, Laura Watson, Lói Löve, Luca Stevenson, Nadine Stott, Paulina Nicol, Sabrina Sánchez & Thierry Schaffauser

Supporting Sex Workers

Three panels offering opportunities to discuss how to build stronger alliances between the sex workers’ rights, migrants rights and reproductive justice movements and how to face, together, an increasingly punitive and reactionary system.

Come listen and ask questions to activists from the sex workers’ rights, migrants rights and reproductive justice movement. The three panels will offer an opportunity to discuss how to build stronger alliances between our movements and how to face, together, an increasingly punitive and reactionary system.

Panels

Panel 1 - Sex Worker Rights and Reproductive Justice: Strategising together

2pm - 3.15pm

Beyond the fact that sex workers and abortion rights activists often share opponents, how can our two already-overlapping movements best work together and build collective power? Join our panellists to discuss how we can co-organise around sex worker safety and reproductive justice – with an emphasis on reproductive justice as not only about access to safe abortion and contraception but also about the right to parent safely within the context of drug law reform, racial justice, migrancy status, and trans healthcare.

Panel 2 - Advancing the Rights of Migrant Sex Workers in the Age of Brexit

3.30pm - 4.45pm

Sex workers are so used to the idea of trafficking being used to shut down conversations about our safety that we are sometimes in danger of retreating from discussing topics that should be central to our analysis – how do border regimes and immigration enforcement make people who are seeking to migrate more vulnerable to harm during travel, and exploitation on arrival? How can we resist these border regimes and work against the harms that they cause? Join our panel of sex worker activists and migrants' rights activists for this urgent conversation.

Panel 3 - Criminalisation of Sex Work: Experiences from Europe

5-6pm

Public Seminar and Press Briefing - Come hear from sex workers and sex workers' rights activists from several European countries on the issues faced in their country, the impact of criminalisation and stigmatisation and their struggle for respect, rights and justice! With Laura Watson, English Collective of Prostitutes, UK, Sabrina Sanchez, APROSEX, Spain, Thierry Schaffauser, STRASS, French Union of Sex Workers, France. Lói Löve, IWW (Industrial Workers of the World), Iceland and Catriona O’Brien, SWAI, Sex Workers Alliance, Ireland.

Panel 1 Speakers

Catriona O'Brien, sex worker & activist with Sex Workers Alliance Ireland (SWAI)

O’Brien has been involved with SWAI since 2012 and in the past with Abortion Rights Campaign (ARC). She is currently based in Ireland. O’Brien wrote this article in conjunction with Grace Wilnetz from the Abortion Rights Campaign Ireland. It highlights the many similarities of the movement of reproductive justice and the sex work movement: http://www.abortionrightscampaign.ie/2017/02/06/what-unites-sex-workers-...

 

Juno Mac, sex worker activist and SWOU member

Juno Mac campaigns for better working conditions for sex workers by fighting criminalization and supporting public education projects around issues relating to sex worker rights. Mac's activist work with SWOU has included delivering workshops in universities, political lobbying and campaigning, consulting with human rights organisations (including Amnesty International), appearances on radio and TV, and taking part in public panel discussions at festivals and conferences. Mac has also curated an exhibition of sex worker art, contributed to magazines and a live storytelling night, facilitated skill-sharing and support spaces for fellow sex workers, and helped to organise SWOU's Open Conference of The Advancement of Sex Worker Rights 2015.

 

Chamindra Weerawardhana, Research Fellow at the School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics (HAPP) at Queen's University Belfast

Weerawardhana finished a PhD (international politics) in 2013, and is the first Trans woman to be on a staff appointment. She is a board member of Sibéal, the Irish Feminist and Gender Studies Network and the LGBTQI Officer of the Labour Party in Northern Ireland. Weerawardhana is Sri Lankan, and has lived and worked in several places including France and The Netherlands. She is an international LGBTQI activist, and currently writing a book on Trans identities and parenting, which draws on her lived experience as a Trans woman of colour in Ulster and a parent of two young children. Weerawardhana has written about reproductive justice from a Trans-inclusive (especially Transfeminine-inclusive) perspective (several pieces available on my page on Medium: https://medium.com/@fremancourt and conducted a workshop on Transparenting at the 2016 ILGA World Conference in Bangkok.Twitter: @fremancourtFB: www.facebook.com/fremancourt www.chamindra-weerawardhana.net

Panel 2 Speakers

Paulina Nicol, English Collective of Prostitutes (ECP)

Nicol’s work focuses on the situation of migrant sex workers. She has led campaigns against racism from the police and authorities (crucial as discrimination and attacks increase in the wake of the Brexit decision), refusal of benefits and other resources and against so-called anti-trafficking initiatives which result in raids, arrests and deportations of migrant sex workers. She co-ordinates outreach with the ECP’s Know Your Rights information sheet and speaks frequently to the media and at national and international forums.

 

Sabrina Sánchez, Secretary of Aprosex (Barcelona) trans and sex worker rights activist

Sánchez has been involved in international sex worker and trans* rights activism for many years.  Her first involvement in European activism was in TGEU's Bologna Council, where she spoke at a workshop discussing TGEU’s sex work policy, and also contributed to TGEU’s December 17 campaigning last year with a video: goo.gl/CVL6Tf Sánchez is also working in close contact with the International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe (ICRSE). See her latest contribution to their last year Brussels conference on migrant sex work here: goo.gl/OX9dXZ

 

Gracie Mae Bradley, human rights worker, sometime writer, and Project Manager at the Migrants' Rights Network.

Gracie runs the Route To Your Rights project at the Migrants' Rights Network; an 18-month project looking at migrants' experiences on early settlement in the UK, and the factors that make people vulnerable to issues like homelessness and labour exploitation. As a result, her work at MRN touches on several themes: the intersection of immigration control and labour law; structural features of the UK housing and labour markets, regional variations in the effects of UK immigration policy, and broader issues such as austerity and welfare reform. Outside of work, Gracie is involved in a number of grassroots migrants' rights initiatives, and in particular the Against Borders for Children campaign, which is calling for an end to the use of pupil data for immigration enforcement purposes. Prior to joining MRN she worked in casework and policy supporting people who have experienced torture and trafficking to navigate the UK asylum system. She holds an MSc in Human Rights from the LSE. 

  • Video - Panel 1

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  • Video - Panel 2

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  • Video - Panel 3

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  • Panel 1 Audio

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  • Panel 2 Audio

  • Panel 3 Audio