Hi, all, I'm Annie. I identify as white, queer, cis, femme, raised working class—currently middle class sex worker (primarily an escort). I live in the Pacific Northwest but moved here from Philly (with a one year stint in Santa Fe in between) about three years ago to start a doctoral program in social work. My days are spent working a domestic violence agency with queer survivors of interpersonal violence, writing and researching on different aspects of sex work. Mostly I'm focusing on students working in the sex industry and thinking about the influence of anti-trafficking narratives on how social work/ers and social service agencies think about people working in the sex trade. This can be frustrating and overwhelming, but I'm hoping that through my academic work of teaching and researching in critically feminist ways that I will have some impact and join other critical activist scholars in changing these narratives. When I'm not in school mode, I'm hanging out with awesome kids, going on dates with cuties, getting my nails done, running in relay races, missing Philly chicken cheese steaks and ice cream cones with sprinkles on top, buying dresses, dreaming about having a kid and thinking about what alternative family structures look like.

Adrienne and Annie's Student Sex Worker Outreach project pamphlet (Photo courtesy of Adrienne Graf)

Adrienne and Annie’s Student Sex Worker Outreach project pamphlet (Photo courtesy of Adrienne Graf)

Adrienne Graf and Annie O’Niell are two social workers whose focus  has been sex workers. O’Niell has experience as a sex worker and Graf is an ally. Together, they have facilitated workshops at the university, state and national level on how to work with students in the sex industry. Here, they have a conversation about their work as social workers reaching out to sex workers.

Annie: How does your work with sex workers intersect with social work?

Adrienne: Even before I started doing social work I have always been in community with many types of sex workers. I was privileged to get to interact with many different people around this topic, and receive a lot of education and exposure that my current work is based off of. So from very early on in my young adulthood I was thinking about sex work as legitimate labor and sex workers as people in my community facing different types of marginalization. When I started in social work,  I just always thought of social work as a profession working with and for various communities and sex workers are in our/those communities communities. So for me there was never a moment of “Wait, does social work address the concerns and experiences of people in the sex industry?” I always assumed that of course it would. Cue massive disillusionment.