Project Oratio:

Sex Workers Voices on Anti-Trafficking Laws

SESTA, FOSTA, HR3244

Oratio is a latin word meaning speech, oration; eloquence; prayer.

We believe by focusing on the stories of sex workers principally those who are also trans, queer, disabled, drug users, experiencing houselessness and/or people of color unequivocally those who are black and indigenous while also collaborating with the Sex Workers Outreach Project – Seattle for the National Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers; we will be reaching both underserved audiences and artists specifically those who might not see themselves as artists. We will be releasing the recordings of the stories we collect on International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. We are working to have a derivative dance performance on/around March 3rd for Sex Worker Rights Day while our partner organization, SWOP Seattle hosts SASS: Seattle Annual Sex Worker Symposium that weekend 2/28 – 3/3 and/or on June 2nd for International Whores Day.

Stage 1:

The first stage of our project is the story collection. It is most important that those who are disenfranchised are compensated for their stories thus we are applying for funding to compensate the sex workers who share their stories about sex work and how these laws impact them. We have already been awarded the smART grant to do eight interviews and SWOP Seattle has donated an additional $500. Our goal is to include stories from those most marginalized, in other words, sex workers who are also trans, queer, disabled, drug users, experiencing houselessness and/or people of color especially those who are black and indigenous. Once these are recorded we will compile them online for others to listen to. Additionally, we will transcribe the stories for accessibility.  We will also have a free public event to share these recordings in partnership with SWOP Seattle who organize the annual Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers on Dec 17th.

Stage 2:

The next stage is to edit the piece and create a collaborative dance piece.

HR 3244 and other such legislation aka SESTA and FOSTA are increasingly putting sex workers at greater risk in the name of anti-trafficking rhetoric in the name sex shaming religious patriarchal savior complex which seeks to control the female body as their own. The voices of sex workers are NOT being heard. So what better way to embody this imbalance then through storytelling and the movement of body, dance.

Storytelling is a resurging medium becoming an innovation even as a traditional art. Our end goal is to use these stories to create dance with which there are a few examples of but is still a very emerging practice in modern performance. The impact of these laws has truly put communities/individuals in need. By telling the stories of these impacts and actively remembering the sex workers who have been murdered on International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers; we will help address this issue and bring equity to sex workers through direct compensation and through building community centering sex workers and sex worker rights. Sex work is real work and sex workers deserve rights like all other humans by telling the stories of sex workers to help end stigma and educate people about the disastrous impact of these laws on actual sex workers.

We need your help! All this awesome work takes time and money. Do you want support us through a tax deductible donation? Or do you have a skill that might be helpful for us around Stage, dance, audio recording, etc? email us at info at radicalcare.org

Partially funded by the SmART grant for the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture and by SWOP Seattle.

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