Here I would like to introduce Butterfly to you and their work to advocate for the rights of Asian and migrant sex workers’ right.
Butterfly was formed by sex workers, social workers, legal and health professionals. It provides support to, and advocates for, the rights of Asian and migrant sex workers.
The organization is founded upon the belief that sex workers are entitled to respect and basic human rights. Butterfly asserts that, regardless of their immigration status, Asian and migrant sex workers should be treated like all other workers.
Stop the Harm from Anti-Trafficking Policies & Campaigns: Support Sex Workers’ Rights, Justice, and Dignity
Anti-trafficking campaigns victimize sex workers
Since sex work is not recognized as “real” work, migrant sex workers are not able to work legally. This means that migrant sex workers are not entitled to labour protection. But labour exploitation and forced labour exist in many different industries, especially for those who cannot obtain labour protection, either because of immigration policies, or racism, sexism, and classism in society. Similarly, many people experience violence in their lives, including domestic and intimate partner violence, not just those who work in the sex industry. It is problematic and harmful to frame that type of exploitation and violence as “human trafficking” only when the people affected are working in the sex industry.
Sex workers are often framed as victims or trafficked victims. Some sex workers complain that they are forced to identify themselves as victims in order to obtain social services or to avoid being treated as criminals by the police or non-profit organizations. This not only denies the agency of sex workers, but fails to respond to the socio-economic and political oppression experienced by sex workers. Anti-trafficking campaigns often provide misleading messages and statistics (such as promoting “rescues” of potential victims, which increases anxiety, moral panic, and racism against racialized migrants and sex workers). Sex workers’ labour and work relationships are frequently framed by the Anti-Trafficking Movement as “transactional or national organized crime”, which increases stigma, marginalization, and discrimination against sex workers and pushes them further underground.
Butterfly (Asian and Migration Sex Workers Support Network) In collaboration with Migrant Sex Workers Project, Maggie’s, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, STRUT and No One Is Illegal