“Listen to sex workers” – until they exit, then tell them to shut up

Meghan Murphy on Australia’s first abolitionist conference, and the harassment that greeted it.

A campaign headed up by Vixen, a pro-prostitution advocacy group in Australia, attempted to shut down Australia’s first abolitionist conference (which doubles as the Prostitution Narratives: Stories of Survival in the Sex Trade book launch), but failed.

Over the past week, the #RMIT2016 hashtag was overrun by prostitution fans and anti-feminists who claimed that, somehow, hosting voices of survivors and feminists who opposed the sex industry equated to “silencing” and “hate.” Vixen encouraged supporters to harass RMIT University, via Twitter and email, into shutting down the conference, though University representatives refused to comment publicly (because, why?). Feminists were called “cunts” by online protesters and one young woman suggested RMIT University be burned to the ground, as though simply speaking out against a racist, exploitative, abusive industry like prostitution deserves arson in response.

Because why? Do people think – like Amnesty International – that access to prostitutes is a human right? Do they think pimps are the defenders of human rights and abolitionists are the destroyers of human rights? Do they think access to female bodies is a human right?

Murphy includes a lot of tweets from the conference. Here’s a zinger:

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