Jamra primary scholl for children affected by HIV/AIDS, drugs or poverty, Senegal (c) Nell Freeman/Alliance Participants in the Photovioce project, Ecuador © Marcela Nievas for the Alliance
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RedTraSex marks International Sex Worker Day


Aids Alliance

Thirty-eight years after 150 sex workers occupied Saint-Nizier Church in Lyon in France, to protest about criminalisation of sex work and exploitation, RedTraSex are campaigning for the recognition of the human rights of sex workers.

“Across the world, we sex workers are reclaiming the 2nd June as International Sex Worker Day, a day to remind society that we are free women with rights.”

RedTraSex, the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Sex Workers, recounts how in June 1975, eight days into the protest, that the church was raided by state authorities and the sex workers were violently repressed. The justice system never investigated the repression they suffered that day, nor was anyone held to account. A national movement sprung from this incident, and now the 2 June is known as International Sex Worker Day.

In the statement, RedTraSex explains that across Latin America and the Caribbean, sex workers’ human rights continue being violated on a daily basis. “Violence and discrimination against us persist and continue to affect our lives and our work.”

Even where sex work is not criminalised, there are legislations that violate sex workers’ rights, such as the lack of differentiation between autonomous sex work and human trafficking, the penalisation of sex workers’ clients, compulsory HIV testing and the criminalisation of HIV transmission. This results in sex workers being pushed underground and increases their vulnerability to HIV and the risk of physical violence.

RedTraSex calls for the repeal of codes that criminalise sex work and ask to be considered in the design and implementation of public policy. They also demand that security forces and healthcare providers are trained to guarantee that their human rights are respected and services are accessible free from stigma and discrimination.  

You can read the full statement in Spanish here.