Open letter:                                                                   “We cannot tolerate it anymore!                             Racist attacks being waged by some anti-trafficking organizations against Asian massage parlours and sex workers must end.”
Asian and migrant workers in massage parlours, sex workers, and allies stand together to condemn racist attacks from some anti-trafficking organizations, which foster anti-Asian racial discrimination and anti-sex work hate and also conflate sex work with human trafficking for repressive aim. These pro-carceral anti-trafficking organizations must stop trying to shut down massage parlours/body rub parlours,  and stop advocating for the further criminalization of sex work — increasing surveillance, policing, investigations, and racial profiling of sex workers.

These organizations’ attacks have led to the use of trafficking laws and policies as cover for continued investigation and harassment of Asian women engaged in sex work, including many migrant women who work in massage parlours who have been harassed, fined, charged, arrested, detained, and deported. Repressive laws and policies push these women underground and expose them to police and other violence, including physical violence, sexual violence, exploitation and even murder. These organizations must take responsibility and immediately stop the harms they are causing to our communities through anti-trafficking rhetoric that aims to eliminate sex work.

Any strategy to combat exploitation and violence must be one that centers human, labour, and migrant rights, and addresses structural and systemic barriers. The justice and protections that marginalized people need lie in increased investments in community-based services, affordable and safe housing, access to anti-oppressive education, accessible health care, child care, legal services and supports, labour rights, fair wages and more.

We therefore call on these harmful anti-trafficking organizations to immediately stop anti-Asian racism and discrimination and state-sanctioned violence against Asian massage parlours and Asian sex workers. They must not conflate sex work with human trafficking.

Further, we call on all human rights, gender-based violence and anti-trafficking organizations to stand with us to support women’s rights to control over their bodies, and their right to equal protection and to be free of gender and racial discrimination and harassment. We further call on these organizations to recognize that sex work is work, support the full decriminalization of sex work, and join Asian massage parlour workers and sex workers to fight for full dignity and security, as well as labour, migrant, gender, and racial justice.

For more information: 

Butterfly (Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Support Network)
HIV Legal Network

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Stop the racist attacks against Asian massage parlours and sex workers
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