A really powerful statement from the Philippine Sex Workers Collective on the appropriation of their voices by prohibitionist groups and the challenge they face with the Anti-Prostitution Bill, based on the Swedish model.
“Society has made us invisible so to have women of power speak for us was a blessing or so we thought. It was not a blessing. It was exploitation. They were not speaking for us, they were speaking for themselves in our name.”
Sex workers have always been treated with great disdain in Philippine society. To call a woman a prostitute (puta) or the daughter or son of a prostitute (anak ng puta) would perhaps be the gravest insult you can throw on any Filipino. Credit this to the Catholic Church and Christian fundamentalists (the Catholics make up 88 % of the country’s population while the Christian groups account for 8%. The rest are Muslims.) They have ingrained in the minds of the people that sex outside of marriage is dirty and immoral. To most Filipinos therefore, prostitution is a moral issue and those involved in it must be condemned. This has led us, sex workers, to be treated with stigma and discrimination.
As sex workers, we are forced to hide who we are and what we do for fear that if we are outed, we and our families would…
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