International Sex Workers Rights Day

March 3rd is International Sex Workers Rights Day. Some history, from Sex Worker Outreach Project USA (SWOP-USA)’s website:

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.
Knowing the usual response of international bodies and views of academicians and intellectuals of the 1st world [many of them consider that sex workers of third world are different from 1st world and can't take their decision] a call coming from a third world country would be more appropriate at this juncture, we believe. It will be a great pleasure to us if all of you observe the day in your own countries too…We need your inspiration and support to turn our dreams into reality.

A note that the events listed at the SWOP-USA link are from last year. Events for this year are being advertised on local SWOP chapter websites, so I would suggest googling SWOP in your region. They are also being posted on the wall of the Facebook group “Love your hooker and pay them well,” which was created in response to the “Kill your hooker” groups we’ve written about before. You can also post in comments here about events taking place in your community.
Related post: Guest post: International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers…My Thoughts by Audacia Ray

Boston, MA

Jos Truitt is Executive Director of Development at Feministing. She joined the team in July 2009, became an Editor in August 2011, and Executive Director in September 2013. She writes about a range of topics including transgender issues, abortion access, and media representation. Jos first got involved with organizing when she led a walk out against the Iraq war at her high school, the Boston Arts Academy. She was introduced to the reproductive justice movement while at Hampshire College, where she organized the Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program’s annual reproductive justice conference. She has worked on the National Abortion Federation’s hotline, was a Field Organizer at Choice USA, and has volunteered as a Pro-Choice Clinic Escort. Jos has written for publications including The Guardian, Bilerico, RH Reality Check, Metro Weekly, and the Columbia Journalism Review. She has spoken and trained at numerous national conferences and college campuses about trans issues, reproductive justice, blogging, feminism, and grassroots organizing. Jos completed her MFA in Printmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute in Spring 2013. In her "spare time" she likes to bake and work on projects about mermaids.

Jos Truitt is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Development.

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  • s mandisa

    i went to the SWOP website and was surprised not to see many chapters in the Deep South.
    Im from New Orleans and, though local organizers and advocates including sex workers have been meeting the needs and experiences of the mostly women (trans and cis) involved in the sex industry, as far as I know there is no SWOP chapter in the city. the closest one is in Alabama and the website didn’t have any info on that chapter. I wonder what this means about the visibility of the work we have been doing.
    One way I plan to celebrate International Sex Workers Rights Day is by working to overturn the centuries-old Louisiana statute which labels sex workers sex offenders and just perpetuates the criminalization of sex workers, the poor, trans folks, and women of color simultaneously and relentlessly.
    as always, jos, thank you for bringing it.