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Sex Worker Solidarity Activists Protest at H.E.A.T Conference, Oakland, 6/13/12: photos
Dave Id
A promotional webpage for the 2012 National Human Exploitation And Trafficking conference currently underway in Oakland claims that the purpose of the gathering is "to enhance the capacity of law enforcement and practitioners to combat commercial sexual exploitation of children." And that is exactly the problem, according to sex worker solidarity activists. Not that they are in favor of sexual exploitation of children, but, much like the law enforcement-centric policies in the "war on drugs" contribute to more social harms than good, the burgeoning anti-sex worker industry further criminalizes and marginalizes those already struggling to survive while largely ignoring the root causes of sexual exploitation. In what might have been the first action organized against an anti-trafficking conference in the U.S., Oakland Occupy Patriarchy initiated a protest on June 13th targeting the H.E.A.T. conference on its opening day in Oakland. At least one arrest was made after the demonstration concluded when Melvin of Occupy Oakland's Tactical Action Committee was snatched by police on a side street. The conference runs through Friday.

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