When you consider the unsavory elements one encounters on Muni -- seeds, stabbings, sermons, and semen, -- an ad campaign advocating for prostitutes' rights is rather benign.
Local sex worker activists have launched a media campaign aimed to educate the bus-riding populace that sex workers are people, too. After being rejected by Clear Channel, CBS Outdoor, and the San Francisco Arts Commission (the term "sex worker" is not family friendly), the campaign found a place to deliver its message: on the J-Church.
During the month of October, Muni patrons can bone up with some new reading material on their ride home: Illustrated testimonials from Bay Area sex workers.
The campaign is sponsored by the St. James Infirmary, which provides healthcare to sex workers. The ostensible goal is to give a voice to the range of people who work in the sex industry, including erotic dancers, escorts, and street-based prostitutes.
Rachel Schreiber, creative director for St James Infirmary, told us that this campaign aims to reframe the dialogue about the local sex industry. So often, media coverage and law enforcement is focused on sex trafficking. How about some positive coverage for a change?
"I think there has been a pretty interesting debate circulated in SF Weekly and the Village Voice Media and how it exposes how much of the antitrafficking campaigns rely on underresearched and overstated figures, and I see our campaign as a voice that participates in that conversation," Schreiber said.
Two of her talking points: Law enforcement targets sex workers more often than clients. And when condoms are used as evidence, it pushes sex workers in the direction going without them, Schreiber says.
The campaign will include advertisements on 50 buses throughout San Francisco.
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