International Sex Workers 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 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 sexworkers [Female, Male, Transgender], we proposed to observe 3rd March as THE SEX WORKERS RIGHTS DAY.
Prostitutes in Tijuana fight, beat City Hall
By Richard Marosi, Los Angeles Times January 23, 2005
Outside El Burro Bar, Monica and Juana saw the seedy landscape of this border city's red-light district gradually take on a new look with swaying palm trees, pastel-painted hotels and fancy lampposts.
Then city inspectors ordered Monica and Juana and all the other prostitutes off the streets and inside the smoky bars and hotels. The new sidewalks, the inspectors said, were for tourists, not the dozens of hookers who crowd the doorways and sidewalks of Callejon Coahuila.
The women -- called "las paraditas," or "the little ones who stand" -- rebelled, triggering a classic only-in-Tijuana civic battle that pitted community leaders against the city's storied and stubborn tradition of vice.
In September, their faces covered with blue handkerchiefs, about 200 prostitutes gathered in La Coahuila, as the red-light district is known, and twice marched across the city in a show of civil disobedience that culminated with a threat to strip on the steps of City Hall. City officials backed down and offered a compromise.
Today, the "paraditas" remain outside El Burro Bar, the Eduardo Hotel and the Miami Bar, a streetwalking tradition that has drawn American men south of the border for generations.
"I want to stay standing where I've always been," said red-haired, 44- year-old Monica, smoking a cigarette outside El Burro, "so I can keep providing for my children."
Most of the "paraditas" are single mothers who say they can't support their families with factory jobs that, while plentiful in booming Tijuana, pay only $1.50 per hour.
Prostitution is legal in Tijuana, but it is largely confined to the three- block red-light district that locals also call the "zone of tolerance." Prostitution is permitted in most of Mexico, though a few states may have passed legislation against it, according to University of San Diego law Professor Jorge Vargas. (Tijuana sex workers are required to have monthly medical checkups. If they don't, they can be fined.)
About 1,200 prostitutes from all over Mexico work in La Coahuila, making it a sex tourist destination that ranks in popularity with Amsterdam and Bangkok, said Melissa Farley, a researcher with Prostitution Research and Education, a San Francisco-based nonprofit organization.
The city redevelopment project was going as planned until city inspectors showed up one day and told the "paraditas" that they didn't fit into the streetscape's new image. Monica and the others remember being shocked when told that they would be fined $100 for standing in front of El Burro.
The women knew next to nothing about politics. Most have grade-school educations. But Monica and Marta, both grandmothers, said they had a lifetime of experience in negotiating with hard-headed men.
"We weren't going to stay silent," Marta said.
Their first effort to get help fizzled when the prostitutes marched across the city to meet with what were supposed to be attorneys. The men turned out to be pimps, they said.
Later, a real attorney, Ricardo Montoya Obeso, helped them band together with a plan of action. He suggested the women call themselves the "Marilyn Monroes."
"Las Magdalenas" had experienced success in dealing with City Hall. A few years ago, when police ordered them off the streets, the women threatened to go public with a list of community leaders who frequent the district. The leaders backed off.
After the "paraditas" protest marches brought about a compromise, city leaders acknowledged their mistake in assuming that the women would prefer to do business indoors, an attempt to "dignify" their working conditions.
Though keeping the hookers off the street remains the goal, bar owners and political leaders have come up with a new plan: creating sitting areas in hotel lobbies where the women can meet clients in comfort.
There will be cushy couches, television sets, tea and coffee service. (Source: SFGATE)
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Sex Worker Outreach Program
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Sex Workers Unite
International Union of Sex Workers
Sex Workers Project
What’s the Right Way to Protect Sex Workers?
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Austrian brothel offers free sex in tax protest
By Justin Huggler, Berlin
A brothel in Austria is offering free sex to its customers – as a tax protest.
Pascha brothel in the city of Salzburg is advertising a “Summer Special”.
“We’re not paying any more tax!” says an announcement on the brothel’s website. “From now on: Free entry! Free drinks! Free sex!”
The brothel’s owner, Hermann Müller, is paying the prostitutes out of his own pocket as a protest against what he says are unfair taxes.
“Unfortunately we’ve already had to send hundreds of customers away because we had a full house,” Mr Müller told Austria’s Kronen Zeitung newspaper.
The idea of a brothel-keeper complaining about his taxes may sound a little outlandish, but in Austria and neighbouring Germany prostitution is legal and brothels are legitimate businesses – and liable to taxes.
The German-born Mr Müller runs a chain of brothels in both countries, but the offer is only available at the Salzburg branch.
“In the past decade alone I’ve paid nearly €5m in taxes in Salzburg alone,” he said.
“And they want more and more, instead of cracking down on illegal street and apartment prostitution.”
Under Austrian law prostitutes must be self-employed – so they will still be liable for their own taxes.
The brothels operate as clubs providing the prostitutes with a safe environment to work, usually in exchange for a fee.
French sex workers stage mass protest AGAINST plan to legalise brothels
March 25, 2010 By DailMail
Dozens of French sex workers marched through Paris today proclaiming themselves proud to be prostitutes.
The demonstration was organized to protest against proposals to legalize brothels in France. Opponents argue that such a law would deny them the freedom to work on their own.
A politician in France's governing party proposed reopening brothels just over six decades after they were banned in order to move prostitutes off the streets and provide them with medical, financial and legal protection.
The protesters said the proposal limits their options to make their own decisions - and are demanding, instead, a repeal of a 2003 law that outlaws solicitation.
'We are workers and we want the choice to work as we want,' said Thierry Schaffauser, 27, a sex worker from Paris now living in London.
'For doctors, they can work for a company or they can be independent. I think the importance is to let people choose how they want to work.'
The protesters said the proposal limits their options to make their own decisions - and are demanding, instead, a repeal of a 2003 law that outlaws solicitation.
After the conference, the men and women marched through Paris' Left Bank, many dressed in their skimpy work attire. Some carried signs reading: 'You sleep with us, you vote against us.'
'There's nothing to be ashamed of,' said Lola Bruna, a 19-year-old sex worker from Paris.
Brothels were legally outlawed in France in 1946. The 2003 law tightened restrictions against prostitution by making solicitation punishable with two months in prison and a 5,000 US dollar fine. (Source: DailyMail)
Stay Informed: Other resources on US-based and international sex worker rights movements include:
Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (focuses on protecting the rights of all workers vulnerable to exploitation, including sex workers)
Network of Sex Work Projects
Sex Workers’ Outreach Project
Sex Workers’ Rights Advocacy Network (SWAN) — Focusing on Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
The Sex Workers Project
Sex workers rally across Canada to protest prostitution legislation
By Will Campbell, The Canadian Press June 14, 2014
The Harper government's proposed crackdown on johns and pimps would leave prostitutes just as open to violence as under the old sex laws struck down by the Supreme Court of Canada, sex workers and their supporters said Saturday.
In what was billed as a national day of action, rallies against the government's new prostitution legislation were planned in several cities across the country.
Dozens of demonstrators gathered around red umbrellas -- the sex trade's symbol of independence -- in a downtown Toronto park to speak out against the proposed law, which would criminalize the purchase of sexual services, target those who benefit from prostitution and outlaw the sale of sex near schools and other places where children gather.
The legislation would also make illegal the sale of sex through print media or the Internet, and ban communicating for the purpose of selling sexual services in public places where a child could reasonably be expected to be present. Additionally, it would criminalize financially benefiting from the prostitution of others, including through online sex businesses or venues such as escort agencies and massage parlors.
The legislation is the government's response to the Supreme Court of Canada's decision last December striking down chief elements of the country's prostitution laws.
In Montreal, a few dozen people took part in a dance party against the proposed law in a downtown city square.
They danced to club hits blasted from speakers and handed out flyers to passersby explaining their opposition to the bill. Several held up signs declaring "Decriminalization saves lives!"
Anna-Louise Crago, a former sex worker who now does research on the issue, called the bill "an absolutely devastating setback for sex workers."
"I believe it will fuel abuse, violence and exploitation, and fundamentally it will cost sex workers lives," she said.
Under the old laws, prostitution itself was actually legal but almost all related activities -- including communicating in a public place for the purposes of prostitution, pimping and running a brothel -- were criminal offences.
The Supreme Court declared them in violation of the Charter of Rights and gave Parliament a year to address the situation. (Source: CTVNews)
South Korean Prostitutes Protest Closing of Brothels
May 17, 2011
Face-painted South Korean prostitutes, wearing mourning clothes, join hundreds of their fellow workers to participate in a rally in Seoul. Along with pimps, they were demonstrating against the closing of their businesses.
Red light districts around the capital have been forced to close down to make room for the development of apartments and office buildings in Seoul.
At one point, about 20 protesters in their underwear and covered in body and face paint doused themselves in flammable liquid in an apparent attempt to burn themselves, but others stopped them from lighting any flames. Some of the women then sat in the street and wept and screamed, while other protesters consoled them.
Minor scuffles between protesters and police officers erupted after the rally, but there were no reports of major injuries.
Prostitution is illegal in South Korea but is widespread despite repeated government crackdowns.
The rally comes weeks after officials began stationing police cars near brothels in a bid to drive away people looking to pay for sex. (Source: TIME)
Prostitutes protest in Athens
By The Associated Press December 06, 2003
Greek prostitutes protested Friday a decision by the government to back away from compromise legislation that would have eased the operation of brothels in Greece ahead of next summer's Olympic Games.
Prostitutes, whose profession is legal and licensed in Greece, said they were being unfairly penalized by authorities who apparently want to sweep their activities under the carpet as part of a wider cleanup operation.
"We are the oldest profession, and they can't make us disappear," said Dmitra Kanellopoulou, president of the 7,000-member Movement of Prostitutes of Greece. She was speaking at a news conference at headquarters of the organization in Athens, a kind of trade union that has operated for 22 years.
The trouble for Greece's sex workers began this summer, when Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyannis decided to enforce a 4-year-old law requiring brothels to be located 200 yards from schools, churches and playgrounds. To drive home her point, the mayor shut down several establishments judged to be in violation of the law.
Outraged prostitutes went on strike. Under existing Greek law, about 200 brothels were authorized to operate in Athens, but around 600 had in fact sprung up.
The prostitutes argue that licensing and facilitating their activity discourages illicit prostitution by thousands of women who are smuggled into Greece from Moldova, Albania and other Balkan nations.
For the last several months, the prostitutes' union and the government held negotiations. A compromise bill was agreed to that cut the distance the brothels had to maintain from select properties, removed requirements that prostitutes be single and established several other rules that facilitated the brothels' activities.
Then parliament Speaker Apostolos Kaklamanis abruptly announced Thursday that the compromise bill was being shelved indefinitely, with the blessing of Prime Minister Costas Simitis.
The prostitutes, and a few officials, were stunned.
A spokesman for Mayor Bakoyannis confirmed the government's decision and said national officials had essentially decided to leave the matter in limbo until after elections next spring.
Kanellopoulou, speaking to the Los Angeles Times after the news conference, said she was baffled at the turnaround. Dressed in scarlet velour with blond hair streaked in royal blue and fuchsia, she said she believed feminist organizations opposed to prostitution were behind the decision.
The prostitutes said that leaving their profession legal, but throwing up obstacles to its practice, was the epitome of hypocrisy.
"I pay a lot of taxes. I pay a lot of insurance. I demand to be treated fairly under the law," said another woman at the news conference, Eliza Kolovou, who identified herself as the prostitute association's liaison to the European Union.
An estimated 17,000 foreign women are trafficked into Greece annually and forced into illicit prostitution, according to human rights advocates, several of whom appeared Friday in the news conference. The rights activists also argued that licensing prostitutes is a way to combat trafficking. Unlike their illicit counterparts, Greece's licensed sex workers are registered, undergo regular medical checks, pay taxes and receive social security benefits.
Kanellopoulou noted some brothels are in high-rent districts that authorities may want to put to other, more profitable use. She professed ignorance at suggestions that the Olympics, which Greece hosts starting in August, represent a time when more, not fewer, prostitutes are needed. (Source: CJONLINE)
Prostitutes protest the closing of Amsterdam ‘window’ brothels
April 10, 2015
Hundreds of prostitutes and supporters protested Thursday in Amsterdam against plans to reinvigorate the city’s famed red light district by closing some of the windows where sex workers sit to draw clients.
“About 250 people demonstrated in the red light district against the closure of the windows,” city police spokeswoman Marjolein Koek told AFP.
The demonstrating prostitutes — many masked to hide their identities — waved signs during the protest saying “Don’t save us, save our windows” and “Stop closing our windows”, according to Dutch TV.
“Sex is a legal career in the Netherlands and we need support, we want to be taken seriously by politicians,” said a spokeswoman for the prostitutes cited by Dutch press agency ANP.
Prostitution has been legal in the Netherlands since 2000.
EDITORS NOTE: To all police (LE) priest (churches) and hypocrites (snitches): This is my mind and my body, not yours. I will get high and fornicate as much as I want. You should just go back to stuffing your stupid faces with doughnuts and leave the rest of us alone. Why don't you get a real job and stop sucking on the public tit? Try working for a living like the rest of us, you lazy worthless bastards!
International Sex Worker Day
In 1975, on 2nd June, about 100 sex workers occupied Saint-Nizier Church in Lyon, France, to express their anger about their criminalized and exploitative living conditions. On 10th June at 5 o'clock the Church was brutally raided and cleared by police forces. This action sparked a national movement, and the day is now celebrated in Europe and around the world.
(Source: The Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP))