Technologies For Social Justice: Lessons From Sex Workers On The Front Lines
Canadian sex worker rights organization Stella, l’amie de Maimie, created The Bad Client and Aggressor List, a reporting tool to reduce violence against sex workers.
Through a collaborative process with Stella, l’amie de Maimie, this research reflects on the use of and potential for digital technologies in service delivery, including analysing the reporting tool. This study analyzes the tool’s current and potential future formats as a means of communication.
Stella, l’amie de Maimie (or Stella) is a sex worker led organisation and registered charity that provides space and support for sex workers in Montréal, Canada.
We argue that nuanced and justice-oriented design of digital technologies can be made possible if we start to see technologies not as solutions to complex social problems, but rather as aides that can support the humanity of service delivery and the people who engage in this kind of work.
This can be done by developing multiple multifaceted tools that cater to individuals, while working towards justice for stigmatized service users.
THE BAD CLIENT AND AGGRESSOR LIST
The List provides a space for perpetrators to be held accountable, however it does not provide a space for sex workers to seek and implement protections in a context where they themselves are often sought out as criminal.
It also gives an opportunity for the ‘victim’ and the ‘community’ to identify and address their needs in the aftermath of violence.
We argue that instead of seeing The List as a representation of restorative justice in its full form, we see it an example of an alternative approach to justice seeking, based in part in the ideals of restorative justice.
Future use of digital technologies for the Bad Client and Aggressor List and similar justice-oriented tools
TECHNOLOGIES NOT AS SOLUTIONS, BUT AS AIDES
Nuanced and justice-oriented design of digital technologies can be made possible if we start to see technologies not as solutions to complex social problems, but rather as aides that can support the humanity of service delivery and the people who engage in this kind of work.
DEVELOPING MULTIPLE MULTIFACETED TOOLS
By developing tools that are multifaceted in themselves, and developing multiple of these technologies for different audiences we are able to develop services that cater to the needs of individuals while simultaneously being useful in working towards justice for the
often stigmatized service users.
DELIVERING DIGITAL SERVICES
Ultimately, we stress the importance of people not only in the development of digital service delivery, but also in the delivery of these services, as well as their continued adoption and adaptation of use.
Honorable Mention at CHI.
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