PA International Human Rights Day: Shared With Sex Trade Survivors? No.

17 December 2015


Did you know Pennsylvania now shares in the global celebration of December 10th   International Human Rights Day? Not sure what that means?

According to the United Nations: Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10 December. It commemorates the day on which, in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In 1950, the Assembly passed resolution 423 (V), inviting all States and interested organizations to observe 10 December of each year as Human Rights Day.This year, Human Rights Day calls on everyone to stand up for someone’s rights! Many of us are fearful about the way the world is heading. Disrespect for basic human rights continues to be wide-spread in all parts of the globe. Extremist movements subject people to horrific violence. Messages of intolerance and hatred prey on our fears. Humane values are under attack.

We must reaffirm our common humanity.


Now, let me share a letter I wrote last year on December 17th 2015 asking for assistance in having Pennsylvania acknowledge former sex trafficking victims, sex trade survivors and sex workers in effort to share the vision of both December 10th (International Human Rights Day) and December 17th (International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers):

Dear Pennsylvania Representative Brian Sims:

[2015] marks the 12th year of December 17th:  International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. I’ve chosen this date to reach out to you in support of  HR 605, a bill you are sponsoring acknowledging Pennsylvania’s support of International Human Rights.

Federally defined as a former victim of U.S. domestic minor sex trafficking, I myself have worked on and off in what is broadly defined as the sex industry since 1986; including here in Pennsylvania.

With respect to dramatic change in perspective since 2010 on the ethics and socio-economics of erotic labor and sexual commerce, I urge you to consider the importance of recognizing the needs of those of us who are currently without voice in Philadelphia or Harrisburg.

Relevant to our inclusion as constituents  in your sponsoring an International Human Rights Day in Pennsylvania:

  • 2015 UNIVERSAL PERIODIC  REVIEW of HUMAN RIGHTS where the State Department affirmed United Nations Recommendation #86, stating: “We agree that no one should face violence or discrimination in access to public services based on sexual orientation or their status as a person in prostitution.”
  • 2015 AI DECRIM
  • 2014 PA Act 105 OFFERS NO INCLUSION of adults who identify as sex workers, nor a grandfather clause to protect former victims whose experiences are prior to the 2010 General Assembly review,  or consensual adult workers. Act 105  also seems to define and conflate all sex work as potential criminal sexual activity / human trafficking.

I recognize it is hard for politicians  and the conservative community to step up to the challenge of addressing the sensitive issues of sex trafficking v. sex work, especially when we – the marginalized and minority view – reach out to you. That said, I hope you are able to recognize how hard it is for me to step up and speak out. The dialog, though,  is essential in our combined efforts towards a  shared society where each individual’s human rights are sacred, including the human rights of those of us who have lived the sex trade, yet don’t want to permanently  live as victims because of other’s forced narrative on our experiences. I am reaching out to you  because as they are currently written,  Pennsylvania legislative and legal strategies hurt those of us that lived this reality before it was a  popular narrative.

For more information I invite you to meet with me to discuss my 2003 BA senior study on commercial sexuality and international human rights, along with hearing more about my history.  It is my hope that we may even share a similar view for the future of sex trafficking victims, and consensual adult sex workers, here in Philadelphia.

Truly: M. DANTE in response to the November 18th resolution declaring December 10th International Human Rights Day in Pennsylvania.

Sex trade survivors are often also considered sex workers

and sex worker rights

are human rights.


Posted: November 18, 2015
From: Representative Brian Sims
To: All House members
Subject: Resolution Declaring December 10, 2015 as International Human Rights Day
In the near future, I will be introducing a resolution commemorating the 67th Anniversary of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights by recognizing December 10, 2015 as “International Human Rights Day in Pennsylvania”.

The original declaration was adopted on December 10th, 1948 in the General Assembly of the United Nations.  This year marks the 67th anniversary of that historic event. December 10th is observed as a day to promote human rights awareness throughout the world.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was crafted in response to the atrocities committed by the Nazis during World War II.   Referred to as “the international Magna Carta for all mankind” due to its intent to clarify the rights of all human beings, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights represented the first global expression of rights to which all human beings are inherently entitled and reaffirms the faith of the peoples of the world in the fundamental rights, dignity, and worth of the every human being.

Please join me in commemorating the 67th Anniversary of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights by declaring December 10, 2015 as “International Human Rights Day in Pennsylvania.”

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