St. James Infirmary offers free, confidential, nonjudgmental medical and social services for sex workers (current or former) of all genders and sexual orientations. We are the first occupational safety and health clinic for sex workers run by and for sex workers!
Revolution Through Healthcare
Sex Workers use a variety of venues to obtain healthcare, including private physicians, public health clinics, and emergency rooms. In many cases, they don’t inform their healthcare providers about their occupation out of fear of discrimination or judgment. When Sex Workers do talk about their work, they often find that physicians and other healthcare providers fail to go beyond examining them for sexually transmitted diseases, and even that they do with disrespect. The St. James Infirmary challenges the healthcare model that divides patients and providers. Our clinic was founded on the principals of harm reduction, and the majority of our staff are also community members (receive clinic services). This challenges the traditional top-down service delivery model, and puts the control over our well-being in the hands of Sex Workers.
The St. James Infirmary is fundamentally against the criminalizing of Sex Workers for their profession. Regardless of how Sex Workers got to their current job or if they are experiencing exploitative working conditions or are having the time of their lives, being criminalized is a social injustice with serious public health implications. We do not believe it is supportive of the health and human rights of Sex Workers to give them a criminal record or send them to jail. Because legalization and decriminalization can mean very different things to different people and in different circumstances, discussions on legalizing the trade or on decriminalizing sex work are complicated and make it hard to find consensus. Regardless of varying positions on models of regulation, legalization or decriminalization, the collective view of the St. James Infirmary is that incarceration of our community further marginalizes and disenfranchises us, is a barrier for our community capacity building, and furthers a public health crisis.