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Sex Worker Solidarity Activists Protest at H.E.A.T Conference, Oakland, 6/13/12: photos
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.
[Pictured above: Conference attendees take a break outside at the Washington and 10th Streets entrance to the Oakland Convention Center]
Protesters rallied and spoke outside of the conference before attempting to gain entry, thereby making their presence known with the use of an air horn through the main entrance of the convention center. A small army of convention center employees forced the doors closed, including two that physically shoved demonstrators away from the doors. Oakland police, who had been apparently lying in wait in anticipation of the protest, rushed up to defend the metal barricades surrounding the main entrance to the convention center. Demonstrators then marched up Broadway to 14th Street before briefly returning to the convention center and dispersing of their own accord.
As demonstrators were leaving the area of the convention center and adjoined Marriott hotel, word came that Melvin of the Tactical Action Committee, who had been present at the anti-H.E.A.T. protest, had just been snatched and arrested by OPD. He is currently in Santa Rita jail with $110,000 bail. His arraignment is set for Friday at 2pm. It has hasn't been three weeks since Melvin was speaking out against the trumped up charges of his TAC comrade Chris Morland. Those who want to contribute to Melvin's bail fund can do so at https://www.wepay.com/donations/free-melvin.
H.E.A.T Conference Ignites Bay Area Activists:
Interventions based on 'juvenile justice system' models are widely critiqued from a public health policy perspective. In 2006, for example, a report by Oakland's Child Prostitution Advisory Task Force (Mayor Dellums) noted that: "Overall, we received feedback that that their contact with the juvenile justice system has had adverse effects, reducing life options for youth and alienating them further into behaviors involving risk. The criminal system tends disproportionately to entrap youth of color in its throes and the punitive experiences undermine the inherent worth and value of young people's lives."
Solidarity with Sex Workers - Shut Down the HEAT Conference:
The H.EAT. conference is a conference of pigs and their nonprofit lackeys to increase the harassment, imprisonment, marginalization and criminalization of sex workers. Fronting as a conference against “child trafficking,” this conference brings pigs and nonprofits together to develop policing strategies that line their pockets while leaving sex workers exploited and disempowered. Pigs and nonprofits hide behind lies about “safety” and “protection” while they profit off the incarceration and “reformation” of sex workers.
Oakland Occupy Patriarchy
Here's one corporate report: http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/local/east_bay&id=8700407
Speaker reads Occupy Patriarchy statement identifying issues with anti-trafficking movement including Christian fundamentalism
Speaker from US PROStitutes Collective describes money currently pouring in to anti-trafficking industry
Speaker describes those speaking inside conference, law enforcement, anti-abortion forces, politicians including DA Nancy O'Malley
It is not known if this is the squad car that grabbed Melvin after the demonstration.
Sex Worker Solidarity Activists Protest at H.E.A.T Conference, Oakland, 6/13/12: video