International Sex Worker Rights Day

The 3rd of March is International Sex Worker Rights Day. The day originated in 2001 when over 25,000 sex workers gathered in India for a sex worker festival. The organizers, Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee, a Calcutta based group whose membership consists of somewhere upwards of 50,000 sex workers and members of their communities. Sex worker groups across the world have subsequently celebrated 3 March as International Sex Workers’ Rights Day.

Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee (2002): “We felt strongly that we should have a day what need to be observed by the sex workers community globally. Keeping in view the large mobilization of all types of global sex workers [Female,Male, Transgender] , we proposed to observe 3rd March as THE SEX WORKERS RIGHTS DAY.”

This year, we celebrate March 3, International Day for Sex Worker Rights with a lobbying day in Sacramento. Our issues include criminalization of out communities, targeting of transgendered workers, migrants and sex workers of color, lack of police protection and recourse in cases of abuse, and targeting sex workers in lieu of addressing the real issues of trafficking.

This March 3rd Sex Workers Outreach Project NorCal members are bringing forth a specific and urgent issue for which we seek you support. Among the numerous hardships which effect our communities, it is surprising that our insistence on condoms for protection is actually used as evidence in prostitution cases by police and District Attorneys in this state. Although sex workers use condoms, it is clear that condom use is inhibited when the mention or use of condoms can be employed against them. This practice is rampant. In fact, two SWOP members are challenging cases which use this type of evidence. The legislation we bring to Sacramento will halt this practice.

As the late Senator Milton Marks wrote in a 1994 letter condemning this practice, “The result of this has been a fear among prostitutes to use condoms. This is alarming to me and should be alarming to all public health officials, as it runs directly counter to the work we have done in the AIDS pandemic.”

We believe ONLY RIGHTS CAN STOP THE WRONGS.  If you would like to join us please call SWOP 877-776-2004


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