International Day for Sex Worker Rights: Portland 2016

[Image Description: A hand drawn in yellow holds a small red umbrella for an International Day for Sex Worker Rights benefit for SWOP & PWCL. Art by Ebin Lee]
I got asked to speak at the 3rd Annual International Day for Sex Worker Rights  at Dante’s Pub in Portland on March 3, 2016. I wanted to share excerpts of my speech for folks who were unable to attend:

“Happy international day for sex worker rights ! I am so happy to see so many gorgeous, trans, fat, POC, poly, kinky, babes here tonight showing support for sex worker rights! My name is Adrian Acencion …

I am here today because many people in my life that I love and care deeply about  are sex workers. I’m a first generation Latinx immigrant, and I know how immigrant/ refugee/ LGBTQ/ black/ indigenous/ POC/ two spirit /and disabled communities get  profiled by the state, criminalized for living in poverty,  punished for engaging in crimes of survival, and deported for sex work.

Recently, migrant sex workers in Ottawa were targeted as part of a three day raid that treated them as criminal elements . Police and ICE are not legally allowed to collaborate though we know this happens a lot. In Los Angeles, a Korean pop group was profiled as sex workers  and detained because of bad policies. Here in Oregon,  a black transgender woman was profiled as a sex worker and harassed by Portland police on her Trimet commute home.

My family’s migration story is a complicated of imperial drug wars, racist gun violence, sex work, and being crossed by borders as coyotes. People that I admire and are holding communities together are/ or have been sex workers- some of those people are Maya Angelou, Janet Mock,  Marsha P Johnson, and Silvia Rivera. The founders of the transgender liberation movement were radical sex workers fighting against police violence. The criminalization of sex work targets people with the least legal protections and that includes immigrant/refugee/LGBTQ people. 

So lets continue to show our support and love tonight to SWOP, SWOC, and STROLL to ensure this very important work continues and please talk to me if you want to file a complaint against law enforcement. No more closets ! No more stigma! No more bad policies that criminalize sex workers! And president Obama stop the deportations!!!! “

Thanks SWOP,SWOC,STROLL,PWCL, for having me and to and all the artists and entertainers that showed support, yall were amazing! We raised over $1,000 that night!

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