In this Tuesday, June 5, 2018, photo, Catherine Healy, the national coordinator of the New Zealand Prostitutes' Collective, stands in front of supplies at the collective's office in Wellington, New Zealand. (AP Photo/Nick Perry)
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Former sex worker Catherine Healy was honored this week by Britain's Queen Elizabeth II for her work advocating for prostitutes. In 2003, Healy helped get prostitution decriminalized in New Zealand, which now has some of the most liberal sex work laws in the world. The 62-year-old was given one of the nation's top honors Monday, becoming a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.In an interview with the Associated Press, Healy talked about her journey. I took on the job of a receptionist, and became a sex worker a couple of months later.ORGANIZING WORKERSI remember seeing articles that had been written about sex workers, but there was no sex worker voice.The consequence of being convicted for soliciting in those days meant you couldn't continue to work in a massage parlor, which is where most of the sex workers worked.LAWSTIGMAI think that fighting the stigma of sex work remains our biggest battle.Hopefully my award is useful for every sex worker.
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