Why Sex Workers Need Legitimate Rights

On 3rd March, people all over the world went on protest for Sex Worker Rights Day.  As a yearly international commemoration, the tradition originated nearly 20 years ago in 2001 when more than 25,000 sex workers gathered in India for a sex worker festival.  Over the years, that number has grown, with hundreds of thousands of people from all walks of life protesting for sex workers to have legitimate rights on a global scale. 

sex worker rights day

Sex workers are making their presence known in the world of 2020 with voices from every continent speaking on sex workers rights to push the agenda to higher powers. From sole workers to agencies such as Angels of London, the movement for sex workers’ rights is becoming stronger with every passing day.

So why do sex workers need rights?

The idea of sex workers not having rights might seem strange given the open society that we live in, in the 21st century. However, it is a real struggle that thousands of people go through on a daily basis. In many corners of the world, sex work is often related to harassment and due to the nature of the job, going to the authorities makes it difficult for workers because it leaves them vulnerable to, further abuse, retribution and even incarceration.

This essentially results in the stigma around sex work being reinforced, which can further put sex workers at risk of health and safety.

Australian Sex Party demonstration, Melbourne
Members of the Australian Sex Party demonstrate outside the Victorian Parliament House for the rights of sex workers.

In December 2019, United States Representatives Ro Khanna and Barbara Lee and Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ron Wyden brought in the Safe Sex Workers Study Act. This new act was introduced and directs the United States Department of Health and Human Services to play out a “nationwide study on the health and safety of sex workers.” Despite this, the new Act doesn’t make a guarantee of sex workers or sex working agencies to be included as part of creating this study.

Looking elsewhere in the United Kingdom, sex work itself is legal however, rights for the workers are under threat. London Escorts, in particular, sees rights almost thrown out of the window. Clients of some sex workers take advantage of this which is one of the main reasons sex workers need rights and why International Sex Worker Rights Day is so important.

Like any kind of job, sex workers will all have their own opinions on their profession. Whether they love it or hate it, they deserve to be safe in their work.

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