Sex Workers Convene for Cultural Festival: Speak Out on Craigslist Sex Panic

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Erotic service providers, adult entertainers, dominatrixes, strippers and allies gather in San Francisco for a week of educational, political and cultural events from May 30th- June 7th at the 6th Biennial Sex Worker Film, Arts and Music Festival. Sex workers come together to address the current issues they face including human rights and safety in addition to attending screenings, performances and parties. A press conference will be held in San Francisco on Monday, June 1st at 11 am to discuss recent issues and announce this event.

Sex workers from across the U.S., including many who are participating in this festival, are profoundly impacted by the shut down

Sex workers and allies from various industry sectors and communities gather in San Francisco for a week of films, performances, parties, as well as educational and political sessions at this 6th biennial film and cultural festival. (Visit for details.)

Attendees will gather at cultural events, and meet to address the current issues that they face from 'the Craigslist Panic' to the human rights impact of anti-trafficking polices, from 'prostitution free zones' in Washington D.C. to media representation and stereotypes.

This year the festival takes places during a particularly difficult time for many participants as Craigslist, described as "Times Square in its heyday," recently shut down the erotic services section. See this link for a story about the effects of this panic.

"Sex workers from across the U.S., including many who are participating in this festival, are profoundly impacted by the shut down," says Acire Roche, director of SWOP, San Francisco. "It's horrible that our government chooses to waste money and focus on 'capturing' prostitutes. This is devastating to those who are trying pay our bills, to survive and to feed our families. The Craigslist shut down is another example of current repressive trends."

"This movement is a strongly cultural movement and through our video, performance and poetry, we share our unique perspectives," says festival director, Carol Leigh (AKA Scarlot Harlot). "This event gives us a chance to come together, to share survival strategies and organize to support our rights."

"The Center for Sex and Culture is glad to be able to support these voices which are rarely heard, from those who are often criminalized and denied representation," says Carol Queen, director of CSC and festival sponsor.

The festival, founded in 1999, provides an opportunity to recognize prostitutes, dancers, porn performers and others who have historically been a dynamic part of arts communities.

Press Conference:
Date: June 1st, 2009 11am
Location: Center for Sex and Culture, 1519 Mission St, San Francisco
Contact: Carol Leigh (415) 751-1659

Festival Info:
Carol Leigh (415) 751-1659

SWOP-San Francisco
Acire Roche (916) 904-2058

SWOP-Los Angeles
Mariko Passion (310) 562-8201


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