“These Kinds of People”: How and Why We Must Support Asian Sex Workers
by Sammy Rei Schwarz
March 24, 2021
“They were not these kinds of people,” replied the former neighbor of Xiaojie Tan, owner of Young’s Asian Massage Parlor, in response to reports that the Atlanta shooter may have been purchasing sexual services at her business. “They were good, honest people.”
When I read these words in the Washington Post, a familiar pain pierced my gut. The implication was clear: people like me—Asian sex workers—are neither good nor honest. As an Asian American woman in the sex industry, I’m accustomed to the prejudice most people hold towards this kind of work, but it never gets easier to stomach.
While many share the grief of this tragedy, Asian women in the sex trade bear the emotional trauma disproportionately.
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