2006 -APNSW Premieres “One Whore” Advocacy Song at IAC in Toronto, Canada

In 2006, the Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers (APNSW) premiered the karaoke-style, sex worker advocacy song “One Whore” at the International AIDS Society conference in Toronto, Canada.

“One Whore” parodies the U2 track “One”, and addresses issues surrounding the administration of US President G. W. Bush. In 2003, the USA introduced the “Anti-prostitution pledge”, which required international NGOs and organizations receiving USAID funding – including those in the Asia and Pacific region – to adopt policies opposed to sex work and trafficking.

Also in 2003, the Bush administration’s Global AIDS Act identified that sex work and trafficking contributed to the spread of HIV/AIDS and that the ultimate goal of US policy was to eradicate sex work.

The song also acknowledges that although sex workers face similar issues in relation to criminalisation, sex workers are not a homogenous community. We work in different spaces, we are different genders, we operate under different legislative models, and our experiences of sex work vary widely.

APNSW opted to use a karaoke-style song as an arts-based advocacy tool in recognition that many sex workers in the Asia and Pacific region operate from karaoke bars, clubs and entertainment venues.

Lyrics:

Are policies getting better?
Or is it still the same?
Is it easier for you now George,
now you’ve got someone to blame?
You say: Sex work, is all bad.
You think we have no rights.

Sex work, we’re not slaves to it.
We won’t leave our jobs because you don’t care for it.

Did I disappoint you?
Leave a bad taste in your mouth?
You act like you never had sex,
now you want me to go without?

Well it’s too late, tonight, to raid the bar,
drag us out into the night.
We’re one, but we’re not the same.
We got to carry each other, carry each other.
One …

Have you come for forgiveness?
Have you come to raise your dead?
Have you come here to play Jesus –
– to the lepers in your head?

Did I ask too much? More than a lot?
You gave us sewing machines now that’s all I got.
We are selling sex, but don’t feel ashamed,
Cos we don’t hurt each other.
Then we will work again.

Sex work is work, we don’t need new laws.
Sex work is work – what you want to save us for?
You ask for me to exit and then you make me crawl?
But I can’t keep holding on to what you got, when all you got is hurt.

One life with each other … sisters … and my brothers

Sex workers, we are not all the same, we still carry each other.

One …