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Changes for sex workers in Bulgaria?

By Petra Timmermans, ICRSE Coordinator and Rayna Dimitrova, HESED

Recently in Bulgaria sex workers have taken the first tentative steps to mobilising for their rights.
On 29 August plans were put into place for a demonstration in response to recent police activity that has focused on arresting and detaining sex workers working along the main ring road around Sofia. Charges related to immoral behavior and/or causing traffic accidents are being used in what could be described as an attempt to rid Sofia of prostitutes. However, the demonstration did not take place as planned. Although around 20 sex workers showed up there were so many journalists taking photographs that most of the women became nervous and left.

Some news clippings in Bulgarian:
http://www.dnes.bg
http://dariknews.bg
http://bnt.bghttp://tv7.bg


Briefly it is said in these videos that sex workers in Sofia organize a protest against the police activity because recently all outdoor sex workers were detained by the police for 24 hours and were not able to do sex work. They want their profession to be legalized, to pay taxes and to be able to work undisturbed. These are mostly independent sex workers who have no pimps and work for themselves.


Update:
On 25th of October an NGO "Risk Monitor" released a Report called "Legalizing prostitution - Pros and Cons" and a press conference was held to present the report and its main conclusions.

Update:
On 1st of November 3 sex workers gathered and gave a press-conference called "There must be a law about prostitution in Bulgaria". Two of them participated live, another one was present via Skype. A news article in Bulgarian can be found here.
Video news reports from the press conference
http://kanal3.bg
http://www.btv.bg - national news
http://bnt.bg - national news


Rayna Dimitrova a member of Hesed Bulgaria was at the press conference had the following important observations: Reni, one of the sex workers willing to speak publicly has come forward along with 2 other colleagues to fight for the visibility and rights of the group, new language was introduced at the press conference using the term 'sex worker' instead of 'prostitutes, whores etc' and the journalists acted and interviewed politely and with respect and adopted the term 'sex worker' immediately!
Efforts are starting to establish a sex worker led association what will advocate for the rights of sex workers in Bulgaria.

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