June 8, 2021


This post is a primer by Black women on Black women and the sex trade. This primer contextualizes racist tropes against Black women, racist depictions of Black men, and prison abolition. The American slave trade shapeshifted into two modern industries: prison and prostitution. Tellingly, only one industry — the one that disproportionately impacts men — faces widespread condemnation among organizers within the institutional American Left. Today’s sex industry — which disproportionately impacts women — is defended with humanitarian, harm reduction and “human nature” arguments similar to those used by 19th century defenders of chattel slavery. …

This piece was originally posted on August 23, 2020, in observance of the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and Its Abolition.

The International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and Its Abolition is annually observed on August 23 to remind people of the tragedy of the transatlantic slave trade. It gives people a chance to think about the historic White supremacy, the methods, and the consequences of the slave trade. However, as transnational anti-imperialist feminists, we know that the abolition of the slave trade didn’t end the trafficking of Black women.

The sex trafficking…

Publisher’s Note:

We all want to decriminalize communities selling sex to survive, and to reduce harm against them. The pragmatic solution seems to be full decriminalization, which is also known as sex trade expansion. But speaking with the most marginalized women who have lived through it, we learned that the “New Zealand model” actually fails women, and particularly, Māori, low-income and migrant women. Don’t just take it from us. This post was guest written by AF3IRM allies and Māori (indigenous) sisters in Aotearoa (New Zealand). Seventeen years since the full decriminalization of sex selling, sex buying and pimping was passed into law in New Zealand, widespread harm has not been reduced for the majority of people in the sex trade. The New Zealand model teaches us that calling misogyny and transmisogyny “work” only makes them more popular.

By Jade Kake and Fern Eyles

As the last land mass settled, New Zealand’s experience with prostitution is comparatively rough and recent. Early accounts indicate prostitution’s establishment followed the onset of colonization. The early exchange of goods by whalers and traders for sexual access to Maori women rapidly became one of the primary industries in the Bay of Islands, leading at least one Iwi to launch a raid with intent to capture women for this purpose, and missionaries to refer to the area as the ‘hellhole of the south’. …

The sex wars are over. It’s time for full decolonization. Land and #bodiesback.


On this anniversary of 9/11, we pause to consider the important role of the sex industry in facilitating the United State’s Global War On Terror and American occupation in Hawaiʻi, the Philippines, Afghanistan and Iraq. Prostitution is a vestige of slavery that was sanctioned, normalized, and institutionalized for over 100 years by the War Department/Department of Defense near U.S. bases as a “military necessity.” It was only recently, well after 9/11, that the U.S. Department of Defense reexamined its stance, at least on paper. Regardless, the military’s peer culture of sex buying as a “right of passage” continues. …

Colonization teaches us to identify with oppressive systems and engage in oppressor behavior to defend them.

Over the past month, several people posing as AF3IRM members including the anonymous “Purple Rose 666” account and other sex trade expansionists have been spreading false information in bad faith about indigenous women and women of color on the ground in Hawaiʻi unifying communities to remove patriarchal institutions from Native land.

This group of bad faith actors appropriates the language of police abolition to frame AF3IRM as “carceral,” but then argues that deregulation of profiteers and sex buyers is necessary because will allow ‘sex workers’ equal access to the very carceral systems they claim to denounce. All the while knowing…

AF3IRM Hawaiʻi is a grassroots, completely unfunded transnational feminist activist organization led by Native Hawaiian, Black, immigrant, queer and gender diverse women of color. Our membership includes women with lived experiences within the commercialized sex industry. We run the only emergency relief fund for sex workers in Hawaiʻi, and passed the first state law that allows people to vacate a prostitution conviction. Our organization is opposed to the carceral state and mass incarceration. All cops are bastards.

Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell were monsters who got high on their own supply. But ultimately they were merely dealers supplying the demand…

Painting by Iris Boncales-Strauss

The revolution is at our doorstep. It’s time to answer Audre Lorde’s call for feminists to struggle through racial divisions in sisterhood, or face a future where “women’s blood will congeal upon a dead planet.”

White women are often the most visible face of white supremacy in the daily lives of Black, indigenous, and women of color (BIWOC) in the women’s movement. We are blessed to organize alongside a number of white women who are principled accomplices against white supremacist capitalist patriarchy. However, some white women’s inherently racist behavior is taking a huge toll on us personally and threatens the…

(This story was originally published June 1, 2017, in the Honolulu Star Advertiser in response to Alex Tizon’s “My Family’s Slave” in The Atlantic. We are re-publishing it here for free and open access.)

L: Eudocia “Lola” Tomas Pulido on the cover of The Atlantic that features Tizon’s story; R: an older photo of Eudocia provided by the Tizon family

On last night’s episode of The Handmaid’s Tale, the new world learned the real name of Offred, who had been renamed “of Fred” to signify the Commander she serves. She asserted, “My name is not Offred.” Unlike June, “Lola” (nee Eudocia) from the Atlantic article did not get to tell us her story and when it was told it was to sell magazines and make a…

Dear 2020 Presidential Candidates:

We respectfully write to you as an organization of ordinary women frustrated with the incursions of capitalism into our neighborhoods and intimate relationships. We have seen the pressure mounting on you to take a stance on prostitution — one of the most devastating issues for Native and immigrant women. We appreciate your attention to sexual assault and domestic violence but it is essential to end prostitution in order to reduce these and other forms of violence against us. Women’s pain is a product that must be discontinued.

We respectfully suggest that instead of supporting the full…

Image of Hawaiian women locking arms to protect their elders from arrest. Photo from twitter user aulii43

Are you watching Hawai‘i?

Thousands of Native Hawaiians (Kānaka ʻŌiwi) have answered the call from Hawai‘i Island to protect their ancestor and Hawai‘i’s most sacred mountain, Mauna Kea. Linking arms, our sisters are on the frontlines.

We are AF3IRM Hawai‘i, a transnational feminist organization. We unite Native Hawaiian and immigrant women who dare to dream of a better world where we are never forced or need to ‘choose’ to commodify our most prized things of intimate and cultural value.

Many of us have spent our entire lives in Hawai‘i being told that we are not worth anything. We live in…

AF3IRM Hawai'i

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store