Sex workers’ rights are workers’ rights and human rights — because sex workers are human beings doing work. That’s why the debate over sex work shouldn’t focus, as it usually does, on whether sex workers are "criminals" or "victims." Instead, sex workers themselves should have agency and a say in the policies that govern their practices.
It’s surprising how controversial those statements are, but they are missing from virtually every discussion of sex work in the United States. The ideas do, however, form the core of Playing the Whore, a fascinating new book on the state of the sex work debates by Melissa Gira Grant. Grant is one of the most interesting policy thinkers in the country when it comes to sex work, and this short book introduces and outlines her thinking on the matter.