Conclusion: Evolution of a Movement
From Paris to San Franciso to contemporary social media, sex workers have found ways to resist the judgements and restrictions that society and government have placed upon them. As evidenced by histories of sex work advocacy in the United States, activism that began as collectives of sex workers protesting has expanded into nonprofit work, service provision, public education, and other efforts that have institutionalized sex worker advocacy and allowed activists to push against stigma in varied ways. Social media and blogging platforms have revolitionized sex worker networks. Formerly connected through urban collectives and publications like COYOTE Howls, sex workers can now connect to one another and tell their stories to the public through websites like Bound, Not Gagged. Advocacy has expanded to many more mediums, but resistance to violence, stigma, and control remains central to sex worker activism.
The efforts of sex worker organizations have put the experiences of prostitutes into public dialogue and subsequently affected public opinion, but sex work is still far from being universally decriminalized in the U.S. and stigma still remains. The advertisement at left was created by the St. James Infirmary Clinic in 2011, and demonstrates an effort to normalize and personalize sex work for an audience that still does not understand its true nature. The right to dignity and respect is still being fought for and sex workers still experience disproportionate rates of violence. While many things have not changed, the national and global network of sex worker advocates continues to expand and resist oppression.