My neighborhood has been invaded with politicians recently as they campaigned for the primaries here in NYC. I took an opportunity to speak face to face with one of the more liberal guys in my district. I asked him abut several NY State issues, like the death penalty, marriage equality and the Ground Zero Mosque. He answered those with ease. And then I asked him about his stand on sex workers. He quickly came back with a statement on human trafficking, but he had no policy on sex worker’s rights. I told him that sex work and human trafficking were not the same. He had no idea, so I explained it to him. He told me he would research it further and I went on my way happy that I raised some awareness.
Basically the difference between sex work and human trafficking is consent. There are people out there who do not think women could possibly consent to doing sex for money (and they never talk about the male sex workers of which there are plenty).
Does this begin to sound familiar to you? This has been the exact same problem that the BDSM community had, and still has, to a great extent. BDSM activists, namely folks from the NCSF, have been browbeating journalists, therapists, politicians and anyone else who would listen with the phrase “consenting adults” and that message is beginning to get through.
There’s still a lot of work we have to do to educate people. A lot of that work is talking to people one on one.