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The intersections of sex work and violence

November 29, 2012 @ 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

Claudine O'Leary

Archived Recording

[Recorded November 29, 2012]


A high percentage of transgender people – especially African-American transgender women – have survived through sex work, an occupation that vastly increases one’s risk of experiencing multiple forms of violence.  This webinar will discuss why sex work is so common among transgender people and outline the additional barriers standing between sex workers and crime victim services.  Harm reduction and other programs that have been successful at making a difference for transgender sex workers will also be presented.


Pre-Webinar Worksheets:

This webinar does not have any pre-event worksheets.



Sex Workers Outreach Project

email:info [at] swopusa [dot] org” target=”_blank”> info [at] swopusa [dot] org
phone: 877-776-2004
Sex Workers Outreach Project-USA (SWOP USA) is a national social justice network dedicated to the fundamental human rights of sex workers and their communities, focusing on ending violence and stigma through education and advocacy

St. James Infirmary

St. James Infirmary offers free, confidential, nonjudgmental medical and social services for sex workers (current or former) of all genders and sexual orientations. They are the first occupational safety and health clinic for sex workers run by and for sex workers!

They publish an extremely comprehensive “Occupational Health and Safety Handbook” for transgender sex workers.  Although it has California-specific legal information and resources, it would be a great model for entities in other states that would like to get harm reduction materials into the hands of sex workers.


HIPS’ mission is to assist female, male, and transgender individuals engaging in sex work in Washington, DC in leading healthy lives. Utilizing a harm reduction model, HIPS’ programs strive to address the impact that HIV/AIDS, STIs, discrimination, poverty, violence and drug use have on the lives of individuals engaging in sex work.

Harm Reduction Coalition

Harm Reduction Coalition was founded in 1993 and incorporated in 1994 by a working group of needle exchange providers, advocates and drug users. Today, we are strengthened by an extensive and diverse network of allies who challenge the persistent stigma faced by people who use drugs and advocate for policy and public health reform.


FIERCE is a membership-based organization building the leadership and power of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth of color in New York City.  We develop politically conscious leaders who are invested in improving ourselves and our communities through youth-led campaigns, leadership development programs, and cultural expression through arts and media. FIERCE is dedicated to cultivating the next generation of social justice movement leaders who are dedicated to ending all forms of oppression.

Bad Date Sheets

Example: Milwaukee — www.mkebaddatesheet.blogspot.com
Many cities have peer-constructed zines or newsletters or websites that help sex workers share information about negative or dangerous experiences they have had.  For example, people may post a description of someone who was violent, or an address or license plate of an individual that others are warned to stay away from.

Young Women’s Empowerment Project

YWEP is a social justice organizing project that is led by and for young people of color who have current or former experience in the sex trade and street economies.  Its name may imply it is only for women, but it is very trans-inclusive.

Video/Report: Condoms as evidence

This video is one of many that discuss how law enforcement in many areas of the country – such as New York, Los Angeles, Washington, DC, and San Francisco – are using condoms as evidence.  This video is in Spanish (with English subtitles) and highlights how this type of enforcement deters people from carrying condoms to avoid being charged with prostitution, which, unfortunately, results in higher rates of HIV transmission.  This video gives concrete examples of police violence and abuse of trans sex workers.

Sex Workers at Risk: Condoms as Evidence of Prostitution in Four US Cities

Report: www.hrw.org/reports/2012/07/19/sex-workers-risk-0
This 112-page report documented in each city how police and prosecutors use condoms to support prostitution charges. The practice makes sex workers and transgender women reluctant to carry condoms for fear of arrest, causes them to engage in sex without protection, and puts them at risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. The report was released prior to the 19th International AIDS Conference, in Washington, DC, starting on July 22, 2012.

Video: Sex workers – Condom use

In this installation of the Sex Worker Violence Prevention video series, three former sex workers (two of whom are transgender) and two advocates talk about condom use, focusing on the realities of survival transactional sex, HIV, addiction, and use of condoms as evidence by law enforcement. Three of these interviews were recorded at the Southern Harm Reduction and Drug Policy Network conference September 6-8, 2012, in Atlanta, GA. There is representation by people of both street and non-street sex work experience.

Video: Prostitution Free Zone

In 2006 the city council of Washington DC passed new laws that allowed the Police Chief to call any part of the city a ‘prostitution free zone’ for up to 10 days. This short documentary describes how sex workers, transgender individuals and other communities have organized to oppose the new policy that violates basic civil and human rights.



Special Guest speaker: Claudine O’Leary.

Claudine O'LearyClaudine O’Leary is an advocate for young people involved in trading sex or being sexual for money, gifts, drugs or survival needs. She works together with youth in the sex trade to understand youth involvement, create more options for youth and organize for social justice.  She also educates adults on how to effectively and respectfully support youth and adults who’ve been trafficked, sexually exploited or somehow involved in the sex trade.

michael munson is the co-founder and Executive Director of FORGE, an organization focused on improving the lives of transgender individuals by building stronger connections, providing resources, and empowering growth through knowledge. His educational background is in psychology, with an emphasis in trauma. Munson’s work on violence against transgender and gender non-conforming individuals is groundbreaking, stressing the intersectionality between complex components of identity, experience, and societal constructs that can both spur violence, as well as catalyze healing for individuals and communities. He is passionate about engaging professionals to embrace these complexities and learn key skills to better serve their clients/constituents.

Loree Cook-Daniels has been training about and working on policy changes to better address the needs of members of the transgender community since 1995. Prior to that, she worked for more than a decade on elder abuse and domestic violence issues. The two came together in 2004, when FORGE founded its Transgender Sexual Violence Project.

This project was supported by Grant No. 2011-TA-AX-K121 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this publication/program/exhibition are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.


November 29, 2012
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
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