This article was found on  HuffPostWomen

Women working in the sex work industry — be it pornography, stripping or prostitution — sit in the cross-hairs of an enduring controversy, surfacing questions surrounding everything from sexuality and health to economics and morality.

To shed light on this multifaceted debate, 12 people who know the industry best–including a clinical sexologist, a community advocate for workers’ rights, an attorney in the commercial sex trade, and both current and former sex workers — were asked this question: Is female sex work empowering, enslaving… or a lot more complicated than either?

Here’s what they had to say.

Robin Richardson

Equal Justice Works Fellow with the Sex Workers Project of the Urban Justice Center

Fielding questions about sex workers’ experiences makes me uncomfortable because most questions erroneously assume that there is a common “Sex Worker Experience.” For starters, the term “sex work” encompasses a wide range of activities, both legal and illegal, that include the trading of some form of sexual activity, performance, or fantasy for some kind of payment. Sex workers can have one client –l like the well-compensated girlfriends of Hugh Hefner — or millions of fans, like famous porn actresses Stoya and Belle Knox (both of whom have quite a lot to say about sex work>). Some definitions of sex work broadly include spending time with men in the Hamptons without having sex or trading dirty underwear for money. Types of sex work are as varied as the people who engage in it. People enter into, and remain in, sex work for a multitude of different reasons–which colors each individual experience of sex work. Thus, the myth of the common “Sex Worker Experience” is silly and inauthentic.

To read these perspectives in full, click here.

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