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Six Posters from an Advertising Campaign for the Margo St. James Task Force on Prostitution
[COYOTE] Neville De Souza and Gerard Vaglio,
(Sex Work) [St. James, Margo]. De Souza, Neville and Gerard Vaglio. Six Posters from an Advertising Campaign for the Margo St. James Task Force on Prostitution. San Francisco: COYOTE, . Six posters, each 22 x 14-1/8 in.; b/w offset prints, rolled, with occasional horizontal creases from being pressed while rolled, more noticeable to some posters; minor edge wear; creased corner to one poster. Very Good.
Six of seven posters produced for a 1995 ad campaign, part of St. James’ and COYOTE’s longstanding work to decriminalize prostitution in California. Produced pro bono by sympathetic professional designers Neville de Souza and Gerard Vaglio, the posters pair arresting images with stark text. They address the legal and physical vulnerability of street prostitutes, the stigmatization of arrest records for future employment, and the cost of San Francisco’s anti-prostitution police squad (at the time more than $5 million annually), among other issues.
According to contemporary news reports, 7,000 of the posters were produced and distributed throughout the city. Not surprisingly, the campaign was controversial, particularly with the city’s Board of Supervisors Prostitution Task Force, whose members felt the posters promoted prostitution. Melissa Farley, well-known anti-trafficking activist, responded to the ad campaign “Just because the oldest jobs in the world are slavery and pimping doesn’t mean we as a society should support racism and prostitution.” James and COYOTE staffer Carol Leigh were both on the task force, six other members resigned “in disgust” over the dispute, claiming the panel had been “stacked” with advocates of legalization (SFGate).
Few of the posters appear to have survived, we find no holdings in OCLC or examples on the market.