Margaret Cho's Life Story Proves We Should Stop Shaming Sex Workers

October 30th 2015

Diana Crandall

On Thursday night, comedian Margaret Cho sent out tweets in support of those who work in the sex industry, divulging that she used to work in the industry herself: "I support sex workers because I was one."

Cho believes that sex workers deserve to be protected, and Amnesty International agrees with her.

In 2015, the organization called for the decriminalization of sex work. Think Progress reports that many people, including sex workers and sex worker advocates like the Sex Workers Project, support the proposal because they argue decriminalizing the industry is the most effective means of making sure sex workers are safe and healthy, while simultaneously fighting against sex trafficking.

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Sex work is decriminalized in New Zealand, where the New York Post reports that sex workers sign contracts, are paid regularly and have a good relationship with police. Sex work is also covered under occupational health and safety laws in the country.

Below, ThinkProgress created a chart that illustrates some of the positive effects of decriminalizing sex work.

Sex Work Decriminalization in New Zealand

Unfortunately, sex workers around the world are still facing major issues like arrest, deportation, and violence, according to the Sex Workers Project.

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Salil Shetty, the Secretary General of Amnesty International, said at a meeting in August that sex workers are in serious need of support.

“Sex workers are one of the most marginalized groups in the world who in most instances face constant risk of discrimination, violence and abuse,” Shetty said. “We recognize that this critical human rights issue is hugely complex and that is why we have addressed this issue from the perspective of international human rights standards. We also consulted with our global movement to take on board different views from around the world."