News / Halifax

Sex workers' personal stories aimed at breaking down stigma in Halifax event

Sex, Drugs and Lock Up focuses on the world of a sex trade worker, including speeches from sex workers and others in the industry.

A sex work protest in Halifax is seen in this file photo from 2014.

Mitch Ward for Metro/File

A sex work protest in Halifax is seen in this file photo from 2014.

For Mariam Al-Nasrallah, sex workers are average people and don’t deserve the negative labels they are often given.

“Sex workers are people, they are workers, and they deserve the same rights and safety as other workers,” she said in an interview.

To help put a human face to the sex trade industry, Al-Nasrallah is holding a presentation on the industry and its workers this Thursday at Mount Saint Vincent University.

Sex, Drugs and Lock Up focuses on the world of a sex trade worker, and will feature speeches and stories from sex workers and others involved in the industry.

Al-Nasrallah hopes the stories shared in the event will change the minds of people who have a distorted perception of who sex workers are.

“People have the misconception that they were forced into sex work, or they couldn’t do anything else,” said Al-Nasrallah.

“This isn’t true in most cases. These people are not the label we give them, they are members of the community and just like anyone else. Hearing their personal stories will hopefully make others realize that these negative stereotypes are not true and are very harmful.”

The presentation is being held by MSVU’s SOAN Society, where Al-Nasrallah is president.

These difficult talks are important for people so they can hear and learn from first-hand experiences, instead of getting negative information from the media, she said.

“I want people to talk to each other and to understand the different lifestyles. It is important to bring down these walls and help change the negative stigma people have on sex workers.”

After the speeches, an open panel will be available for people to ask the speakers questions, but answering will be at the discretion of the speakers, she said.

“Come with an open mind and listen to the stories of real people and the reality of what they do. If at the end I can change some people’s perception of what is labeled as a dirty profession, that is all I can ask for.”

The presentation will be held at Auditorium A at the MSVU campus, and will begin at 6 p.m.

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