In calling for the Associated Press to stop using the phrase ‘sex worker’, the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women makes exaggerated claims about violence against women in order to censor representations of people who consensually perform sexual labor.
The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) recently published an open letter to Associated Press Stylebook editor David Minthorn in response to an online campaign to replace the word “prostitute” with “sex worker” in AP’s 2015 Stylebook.
CATW and its allies oppose the phrases “sex work” and “sex worker” because they feel “these terms were invented by the sex industry and its supporters in order to legitimize prostitution as an acceptable form of work and conceal its harm to those exploited in the commercial sex trade.”
CATW’s letter is signed by “over 300 human rights groups and anti-trafficking advocates.” It includes a selection of statements from its signatories, who feel the term “sex work” erases or silences the suffering of people who identify as survivors of sexual exploitation. However, CATW’s letter promotes people who identify as survivors by calling for the erasure and silencing of those who call themselves sex workers.