When Sex Trafficking Is Sensationalized: Criminalizing Working Together

The goal of our workshop is to provide an understanding of sex work and sex trafficking, how they are different, and how, in many states, this distinction is not made. We will discuss the legal definitions and explore how participants understand sex trafficking. Using Alaska as a case study, we will explore the differences between these federal and state laws. We will share how these definitions disproportionately impact the lives of women of color and their families. We will also explain that some people with these charges must register as sex offenders, which further impacts their lives upon their release. We will brainstorm what common elements are important to make sex work safe without causing sex work to be confused as sex trafficking. Our presentation includes a short documentary that shares the stories of individual "sex traffickers" who discuss their lives and experiences prior to and as a result of these charges and incarceration.

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