LAS VEGAS — Dr. Victoria Hartmann discussed mental health care for sex workers, social stigma and related concerns in a feature penned by Catharine Smith, titled “Sex Workers Deserve Mental Health, Too,” for HuffPost.
Hartmann is a sexologist and the executive director of the Erotic Heritage Museum in Las Vegas.
The article is particularly timely, she said, as it arrives in the wake of the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act and the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act, known as FOSTA-SESTA.
“Sex worker rights are human rights; I am glad to see the plight of sex workers, and the need to advocate for a community that is increasingly marginalized, receive national attention.”
Hartmann explains to Smith that “the basis of her work” is the fundamental belief that “sex workers are just like anyone else. They might do this work during the day and then go home and watch science shows at night with their kids.”
She urges society to “recognize the humanity in all of us and not put each other in a box and shut that box and close the door.”
Smith notes that few studies on the topic of mental health among sex workers exist and that existing research tends to exclude male and trans sex workers as well as people of color.
Further, the term “sex worker” can be used to describe a broad array of people and specific situations, each with their own unique needs.
“Mental health challenges are not unique to a few,” Hartmann observes. “And if we each as an individual can say, ‘Yes, I struggle with this,’ we might be able to give someone else permission — just in the act of being honest — to be honest as well, and to go and get the help that they need.”
Read the full article here.
The Free Speech Coalition recently commended a broad coalition of groups that filed in federal court for a formal injunction against FOSTA-SESTA. Read its full statement here.