Body Autonomy: Decolonizing Sex Work & Drug Use

Readers say...

Body Autonomy discusses topics such as sex work, drug use, harm reduction and pleasure through an intersectional lens. The book offers a perspective not often seen in contemporary media representation of these topics and the real people at the center of them- a perspective of empathy and compassion. The anthology highlights a diverse range of voices and centers the discussion around BIPOC contributors and their lived experiences.

The chapter "Wars Don't Resolve Social Problems: Care and Compassion Do" takes on the topic of sex work and society’s ciminialization of sex workers. It outlines the specific issues sex workers face on a day to day basis and how society’s systems are set up to criminalize sex workers. Not only does the book break down these issues, but it shares radical solutions and successes that can be used to create a more just society. Body Autonomy is a bold statement against oppression in all its forms."

Elisa Dore
Puerto Rican artist and activist - www.elisadore.com

Body Autonomy is essential reading for anyone interested in dismantling the war on drugs or the prohibition of sex work. The book offers rich historical references, in the context of the United States, alongside the lived experience of people dedicated to healing centered, harm reduction and sex worker rights. The book skillfully illustrates the parallels between the war on drugs and the criminalisation of sex work. For example, in both contexts the notion that white women need to be protected from vice, has been used to justify the criminalisation of people.

Another aspect that is beautifully explored throughout the text is that both sex work and drug use exist on a spectrum, despite the often skewed media representations that suggest otherwise. Ultimately, both the war on drugs and the criminalisation of sex workers are wars on people. Body Autonomy offers inspirational approaches that we can implement, in order to grow futures rooted in care and abolition, so we can interrupt harm in our communities."

Camille Sapara Barton
Drug policy consultant & Author of the GEN Grief Toolkit

Table of contents

Naming Structural Factors as Best Practice

  • Wars on Bodily Autonomy: A Timeline - Kate D’Adamo, Justice Rivera, Jasmine Tyler, Jade Laughlin
  • Casualties of War: The Wars on Drugs and Trafficking - Justice Rivera
  • Mechanics of the sex trade: An Introduction - Justice Rivera

Wars Don’t Resolve Social Problems: Care and compassion do

  • Human Trafficking: The Bigger Picture - Interview with Aya Tasaki
  • The Paradox of Policing as Protection: A Harm Reduction Approach to Prostitution Using Safe Injection Sites as a Guide - Emani Walks
  • Compassion, Not Criminalization - Alternatives to Criminalization that Reduce Harm in the Sex Trade - Interview with Melodie Garcia, Tamika Spellman, Wit López, and Leila Raven
  • Principles of Healing-Centered Harm Reduction - Reframe Health and Justice

Harm Reduction Means…

  • Stimulant Stigma: Without Simple Solutions, Punishment and Inequity Persist - Justice Rivera
  • Exploitation is to Sex Work as Overdose is to Drug Use - Justice Rivera
  • Overview of Harm Reduction in the Sex Trade - Justice Rivera, Shaan Lashun

Moving Towards Conscious Pleasure-Oriented Futures

  • Fuck Myself into Heaven - Mona Notte
  • Sacred Stripper: Intersections of Religion, Sex Work, Culture and Consent - Amira Barakat Al-Baladi
  • Drug Policy for Breaking Intergenerational Curses: An Eco-Futurist Prayer, Analysis, and Reflection on Psychoactive Substances and their Intentional Use - Ismail Lourido Ali & Paula Graciela Avila Kahn
  • Ancestral Healing for Liberation - Richael Faithful

About the contributors

Amira Barakat Al-Baladi

Author of Sacred Stripper

Amira Barakat Al-Baladi is an artist, writer, lover and dreamer. Her podcast, Majnooni Confessions, highlights life from her point of view. As a queer Arab SWer & official Brown Girl Genius, she creates to insert a narrative that she rarely sees anywhere else. She draws upon her DNA level knowing and extensive training and study of self healing and community healing techniques to support other healers in developing their gifts through Heaven On Earth, a supportive spiritual community centering sex workers and survivors, featuring reiki training for our community. Honoring her nomadic lineage, she has traveled and lived all over occupied Turtle Island before rooting down in New Orleans. You may know her by many names, just like any other Goddess. Follow her at www.sacredstripper.com and on IG @sacredstripper.

Adiel Suarez – Murias

Editor of Mechanics of the Sex Trade and Stimulant Stigma

Adiel Suarez-Murias (she/her/ella) is a queer, Cuban communications brujx from South Florida who is committed to using her powers in service of social justice, liberation, and human rights. She brings to her work a guiding belief in the role of strategic communications and storytelling for good, and a background in rhetoric and comms theory. Adiel often sees her role as fire tender: keeping dialogues around communications alive within movements—as culture, context, and current events evolve.

Emani Walks

Author of The Paradox of Policing as Protection

Emani Walks is an attorney in Washington, D.C. She attended Duke University School of Law. While attending Duke, Ms. Walks served as the Managing Editor of the Duke Journal for Gender Law and Policy. Prior to law school, Ms. Walks graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Ismail Lourido Ali

Co-author of Drug Policy to Break Inter-generational Curses

Ismail Lourido Ali, JD, is committed to building the infrastructure for a just, equitable, and generative post-prohibition world. As Director of Policy at the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), Ismail advocates to eliminate barriers to psychedelic therapy and research, develops and implements legal and policy strategy, and supports MAPS’ governance, non-profit, and ethics work. Ismail is a founding board member of the Psychedelic Bar Association, he currently serves on the board of directors for Sage Institute, and he has previously served as Chair of the board of directors for Students for Sensible Drug Policy. He is also part of Chacruna Institute’s Council for the Protection of Sacred Plants and on the advisory council for the Ayahuasca Defense Fund. Follow @sage_izzy and @MAPS for the latest and greatest psychedelic science and news.

Jade Joughin

Contributor to Wars on Bodily Autonomy Timeline

Jade Joughin is an adult performer and activist who works to advance the health and rights of GLBTQ people in the sex trade. Her work includes research, editing, and formatting.

Jasmine Tyler

Contributor to Wars on Bodily Autonomy Timeline

Jasmine L. Tyler is an Associate Professor of the Practice of Racial and Social Justice in the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University. Jasmine is also the Principal and Founder of Solidarity and Solutions, LLC, a boutique DC-based analytical consulting firm providing human rights and racial justice advocacy services as well as expertise and thought partnership in organizing, movement and coalition-building, narrative shaping, and political strategy. Throughout her career, she has worked for several prominent non-profit think tanks and advocacy organizations including Justice Policy Institute, Drug Policy Alliance, Open Society Foundations and Human Rights Watch. Professor Tyler grew up visiting her father in prison, developing a keen early understanding of structural oppression in the US. She holds an MA from Brown University and a BS from James Madison University, both in sociology. She serves on boards for Free Minds Book Club and Writing Workshop and Students for Sensible Drug Policy. Follow Students for Sensible Drug Policy @SSDPofficial.

Jessica Peñaranda

Reviewer for Healing-Centered Harm Reduction

Jessica Peñaranda is a Queer (im)migrant woman of color, a human rights advocate, organizer, strategist, creative, and caretaker. Jessica has worked for over 14 years providing direct services, strategic leadership, program management, community building, and co-struggling with communities at intersecting identities impacted by systemic and interpersonal violence. Jessica is passionate about collective leadership and birthing communities of care through an intersectional and anti-oppressive healing justice framework with an emphasis on connection, cultural humility, mutual aid, and transformative justice. Jessica holds a Master’s Degree in Human Rights from New York University and a B.A. degree in Women Studies from The College of New Jersey.

Justice Rivera

Content collectrix; author of Mechanics of the Sex Trade, Exploitation is to Sex Work as Overdose is to Drug Use, Overview of Harm Reduction in the Sex Trade, Stimulant Stigma and co-author of Wars on Bodily Autonomy Timeline; interviewer for Bigger Picture of Trafficking

Justice Rivera (she/they; ella/elle) is a writer, social justice consultant, harm reductionist, and pleasure activist based in San Juan & Seattle. Justice’s professional and artistic work is grounded in principles of harm reduction, anti-oppression, and healing justice. Her expressions, which come in many forms, seek to deconstruct carceral and punishment driven paradigms to race, gender, and bodily autonomy. Justice has worked to provide direct services, organizing leadership, and capacity building support to people in the sex trade, survivors of trafficking, and people who use drugs in Denver, Washington DC, Seattle, and nationally. She is now a Partner with the QPOC-led harm reduction consulting company, Reframe Health and Justice. This anthology was compiled in part through her 2019 Open Society Foundation Soros Justice Media Fellowship. When she isn’t working, Justice loves to travel, cook, volunteer, and play with her cat, friends, and family. Follow Justice on IG @justicerivera_writes, twitter @justice_writes and Reframe Health and Justice on Instagram @harmreductionfemmes.

Kate D’Adamo

Co-author of Wars on Bodily Autonomy Timeline

Kate D'Adamo is a long-time sex worker rights advocate with a focus on economic justice, anti-policing and incarceration and public health. Previously, she was the National Policy Advocate at the Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center focusing on laws, policies and advocacy focused on folks who trade sex, including the criminalization of sex work, anti-trafficking policies, and HIV-specific laws. Prior to joining the Sex Workers Project, Kate was a community organizer and advocate with the Sex Workers Outreach Project and Sex Workers Action New York. In this role, she developed programming to promote community building, provided peer support and advanced political advocacy to support the rights and well-being of people engaged in the sex trade both on and off the job. Kate co-founded Reframe Health and Justice in 2018 to help organizations with heart shift paradigms surrounding race, gender, bodily autonomy, and labor. She holds degrees from California Polytechnic State University and The New School. Follow Kate and Reframe Health and Justice on twitter for current information on sex worker-centered harm reduction and healing justice.

Mona Notte

Author of Fuck Myself into Heaven

Mona Notte (Naughty) is an erotic service provider, harm reductionist, and writer hailing from the Pacific Northwest. Mona draws on artistic concepts and lessons learned from psychedelia to inform her practice: spread love & deconstruct norms.

Monique Tula

Reviewer for Healing-Centered Harm Reduction

Monique Tula (she/her) is the former Executive Director of the National Harm Reduction Coalition. Monique has devoted her career to lifting the voices of people pushed into society’s margins caused by capitalism and racial inequity. Central to her belief system is the deep awareness of our interconnectedness, regardless of individual circumstances. Her life’s work is a conscious manifestation of the belief that harm to one is harm to us all. She aims to live each day in the moment, in pursuit of balance, personal growth, and discovery—some days are harder to do this than others. Mother of Christian, grandmother of Malcolm, and life partner of Adam, she lives in Los Angeles with her family and their two agro black cats, Necro and Mancer.

Paula Kahn

Co-author of Drug Policy to Break Inter-generational Curses

Paula is an artist, movement strategist, MPH candidate & hxstory nerdworking at the intersections of indigenous rights, racial, migrant,environmental & healing justice, drug policy, feminism, historical memory, decarceration, demilitarization. Paula is interested in the roles of plants, psychoactives, ceremony, ritual and collective experiences in building historical memory, designing & implementing disarmament, demobilization, reintegration and genocide prevention initiatives. They currently focus on abolishing the mass incarceration of immigrants in the U.S. and enjoy building transnational networks for planetary rematriation. Born and raised in the working-class suburbs of Los Angeles, Paula descends from Mayan, Ashkenazi Jewish and Iberian ancestries. Find out more about Paula @plurproductions on Instagram.

Richael Faithful

Author of Ancestral Healing for Liberation

Richael Faithful (they/them/theirs) is a multi-disciplinary folk healing artist and healing justice practitioner rooted in the African diasporic tradition of conjure. They were born in Washington DC and raised in Virginia, with a strong affinity to their southern family line in Georgia, Alabama and Texas. Faithful supports national and local activists of all backgrounds, particularly leaders of Black Liberation movements. They are known for creating spaces to help activists identify and process trauma and invest into healing justice frameworks. Their work has been featured in national publications, including in Colorlines, The Root, Everyday Feminism, HuffPost, among others. They also publish their own words in several books and law review articles. Faithful is former Shaman-in-Residence at Freed Bodyworks. Before formal shamanic initiation, Richael was a healing-oriented community organizer and peoples’ lawyer. Learn about Ricahel’s offerings at www.richaelfaithful.com.

Sasanka Jinadasa

Author of Compassionate Sex Trade Approaches and editor of Healing-Centered Harm Reduction

Sasanka Jinadasa is a strategist in Durham, North Carolina working to end the oppression and criminalization of people who experience stigma and violence. As a consultant with Reframe Health and Justice, Sasanka has developed racial equity curricula, trained health departments on safer drug use, built capacity for nonprofits on reducing risks for people trading sex, and facilitated inter-movement conversations on healing justice, harm reduction, racial equity, and criminalization. They are committed to developing non-carceral solutions to addressing social injustices, particularly for Black and brown people, queer and trans people, women and femmes. Sasanka received their undergraduate degree in Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality from Harvard University. Follow them on twitter @sasankajinadasa.

Shaan LaShun

Editor for Overview of Harm Reduction in the Sex Trade

Shaan Lashun (they/he) helps create resources to support sex workers, kinksters, and queer and trans people of color. He’s co-founder of Molly House Project, a sex worker rights advocacy group for masc* providers. Lurk his thoughts and doings at shaanlashun.com.

Victoria (Tory) Howell

Initial anthology formatting and design + website

Tory (she/her) is a graphic designer, web developer, and harm reductionist who believes design has the power to build movements that bring us closer to our liberation. She is eternally grateful to have worked with national and local organizations like National Harm Reduction Coalition, Sonoran Prevention Works, Smoke Works, and Poder in Action. Send her a book recommendation on instagram at @yucca_tory.

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