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Mon Jun 18, 2012, 11:15 PM

Occupy Oakland protests anti-child sex trafficking conference [View all]

http://www.sfbg.com/politics/2012/06/16/bringing-heat

On June 13, more than 400 people, mainly from law enforcement and non-profits, gathered for a conference in downtown Oakland’s Marriott Hotel. Outside, a group of angry protesters gave impassioned speeches before trying to enter the hotel. The complex set of issues involved? The conference was organized to discuss tactics for arresting and charging child sex traffickers, but the protesters said that the conference would do nothing but further the state’s harmful impact on the lives of sex workers.


Occupy Oakland has not been shy about calling out police behaviors, from infamous incidents like the tear gas-heavy offensive on the Occupy Oakland camp last fall to shootings of local teenagers. The HEAT Conference, which was organized by the DA’s office and played host to law enforcement from across the country, was no exception.

“Whose inside this conference?” said one demonstrator who spoke during a 20-minute speak-out in front of the hotel that afternoon. “61 official speakers are law enforcement agents, DA workers, or politicians with anti-sex worker reputations. 39 speakers are individuals or representatives of non-profits. The vast majority of these work directly with law enforcement or politicians to criminalize sex workers. Where is the voice of the sex workers?” 

"What we find disturbing as anti-capitalists and anti-authoritarians is these police who, to sex workers, are oppressing us,” Clarissa McFaye, one of the demonstrators, told me in an interview. “We know that police are a very violent, fearsome presence in the lives of all sex workers, and we feel the only way that we can abolish child trafficking and exploitative forms of labor, which is all labor in actuality, is to abolish the police state.”

“They think working to enforce criminalization isn't going to help child victims of sexual slavery. We know they exist, but we don’t feel this is a solution. We don’t think enhancing the ability to arrest people is a solution,” said McFaye.


Happy Days and Jaws come to mind.

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