Throughout the world, sex work is stigmatized as taboo, immoral, and dangerous.
Sex workers, meanwhile, are assumed to be victims—of human trafficking, drugs, abuse, and so on. In both cases, these assumptions are factually incorrect; worse still, they fuel policies and norms which not only fail to “protect” sex workers but, by forcing them underground, imperil their safety and health.
Thankfully, Objects of Desire, a new exhibition, based in Berlin and organized by a sex worker collective, is working to challenge—and dismantle—such misconceptions. By highlighting the ways in which sex workers manage relationships with their clients, lovers, families, and neighbors, Objects of Desire shows the complexity that is all too often lost in public debates about sex work.
Click on the slideshow above to see a few examples from the exhibition and to read the testimonies of those who really know what’s best for sex workers—themselves.