Home » Practice Management. In response, websites such as Craigslist, CityVibe, and Nightshift, who hosted content from consensual sex workers advertising their services, have eliminated that content for fear of legal action. Sex workers already operate at the social and economic margins.
Those lucky enough to be able to afford mental healthcare need our support more than ever. What do you need to know? The conflation of consensual sex work with trafficking, abuse, moral decrepitude, and shame is as pervasive as is it is lacking nuance.
An effective mental health provider must sift through these half-truths and character attacks to find the individual experiences of sex workers beneath. Mental health providers must wade through social discourse thick with misinformation to be effective allies to sex workers in their practice.
Scholars and practitioners alike propose harmful and stigmatizing models of understanding sex work, often claiming that the complete abolition of the trade is the only way forward. For example, in the preparation of this article, a source, Rev. Slavery still exists, but now it applies only to women and its name is prostitution.
Sex workers experience more than their fair share of trauma and pain, undoubtedly, but effective allyship acknowledges how these individuals also shape their own lives with dignity and autonomy, despite difficult circumstances.
Although sensationalist media outlets frequently use sex trafficking as a boogeyman to encourage tougher policing of sex work, research from New Zealand, Australia, and Spain shows that decriminalizing sex work has made the industry safer for workers and reduced incidents of trafficking. These health burdens are stratified by race and other marginalized identities.
Black and indigenous workers are more likely to be engaged in street-based sex work, which is less safe and more exposed to police violence. LGBTQ sex workers, survivors of childhood trauma, and noninjection drug users are at increased likelihood of dealing with a mental health diagnosis. Sex workers operate without the workplace protections afforded to any other industry and often suffer violence from clients, unstable income, police harassment, and criminalization of their work.
Sex workers report a variety of negative elements of their work that would benefit from mental health support, including fear of infection, the feeling of leading a double life, problems with intimate relationships, shame, and feelings of guilt.
Sex worker and blogger Carly S. Treat me like a normal person. Sherwood says that the key to effectively supporting sex workers in her practice is that she has always been aware of the professional, economic relationship sex workers have with their job.
For sex workers, some of the positive elements of the job include money, independence, an ability to help others, self-confidence, and power. Although many sex workers would certainly benefit from therapeutic support in addressing the stress from their work, research from St. James Infirmary in San Francisco indicates many sex workers do not trust healthcare providers to offer unbiased care. By investing in strategies such as peer support, collective organizing, and group work to bring sex workers together, mental health providers can create spaces in which sex workers can take full advantage of the benefits of therapeutic support.
When sex workers are given the opportunity to tell their own stories, they can reassert a sense of control over their lives and better process their emotional reactions to a difficult experience. Show More. Register.
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