Challenging the Victim-Centered Approach: Clinicians, Workers, and Advocates Weigh-In

Cassandra Damm & Serpent Libertine | September 21 | 4:00-5:00 PM | Room Ingman

As sex worker advocates and clinical social workers, these presenters aim to challenge the victim-centered approach to working with people in the sex trade. The presenters work from a harm-reductionist/risk-management perspective, drawing from experiences in community mental health and sex worker advocacy to better educate the audience on what the experience of sex work looks like for individuals of different race, gender, and economic status. Drawing on interviews, advocacy, and counseling with sex workers, the presenters will discuss how intersectionality and type of work influences people's experiences in the sex trade. As both sex worker rights organizers and clinical practitioners, they will highlight the challenges and successes they have had in providing direct services to individuals who have engaged in sex work. They will also use these experiences to critically consider the trafficking narrative and explore how that narrative may hinder our society's approach to supporting clients who have sex trade experience.

Presentation Objectives:

·       Outline optimal interventions both clinically and as a larger society to address issues in the sex trade.

·       Educate the audience through self-awareness and reflection exercises to improve their understanding of how their inherent feelings and thoughts influence their opinions and work with people who have experience working in the sex trade

·       Provide social service professionals practical and effective ways they can assist individuals impacted by the sex trade by spotlighting free legal services, housing, support groups, counseling, and street outreach efforts

About the Presenters