In 2012 during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, DC, I met and interviewed Petite Jasmine with Pye Jakobsson from Rose Alliance of Sweden. Petite Jasmine was murdered one year later, a victim of the stigmatisation and legal discrimination that sex workers face. She was an amazing, beautiful, warm and inspiring person. Her observations were profound and her hopeful tone is haunting.
When Jasmine was murdered, a friend of our community, Dora Özer in Turkey, was also murdered, also because of stigma and criminalisation, and in a rash of escalating transphobia in Turkey.
This video chronicles the efforts of our communities to memorialize Dora and Jasmine. We are launching this video on the eve of a debate and vote by the European Union on whether to support criminilisation of clients of sex workers and the buying of sexual services. This system is known as the Swedish Model. According to most researchers, this strategy is greatly responsible for increased violence and discrimination against sex workers in Sweden. But Petite Jasmine will not be that statistic!
Dora Özer was murdered in a wave of attacks against transgender people and especially transgender sex workers. Again, made vulnerable as a result of laws that limit sex workers so severely that vulnerable members of our community are pushed out to the streets with no support. Sex workers around the world are rising up to challenge the prejudice, the violence and all the injustices.
Some might recognise this title from a famous movie in Sweden, Lilja 4-Ever, which invoked a specific experience of sex work. Those who condemn sex workers used that film to proselytise, claiming that represented all prostitution and promoting their anti-prostitution ideology. But our title expresses a new hope. Yes, we are victimized. But the solutions have evolved from stigma and punishment to rights and risk reduction. No longer will we be victims to prejudice and violence. We will have a voice and will participate in policy that impacts us. Sex workers are standing up and speaking out. The whore-as-victim, is not the 4-ever prostitute. Our friends Jasmine and Dora live 4-ever in our hearts and inspire our resistance, courage and honesty. Only rights can stop the wrongs.
Please visit these pages below for further information:
"End Violence Against Sex Workers: Full Decriminalisation Now
in memoriam of Jasmine and Dora. International Day of Protest 19th July 2013"
The Swedish Model Criminalising the Purchase of Sex Is Dangerous: The European Parliament Should Have Rejected It at huffingtonpost.co.uk/ruth-jacobs/prostitution-laws_b_4851224.html?&ir=UK
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