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Sex Workers Сelebrated the International Workers Day

Sex workers, sex workers’ rights activists, groups and allies celebrated May 1 with various actions. SWAN members also joined the celebration, you can read more about actions that took place in Turkey, BiH, Bulgaria and Macedonia on May 1, 2015 below.


On May 1, 2015 Red Umbrella Sexual Health and Human Rights Association marched in the streets of Ankara under the red umbrellas shouting “Fight Poverty, Not Sex Work". The meeting point of the demonstration was in front of the Ankara train station. The allies joined the sex workers there to support their struggle against sexism, homophobia/transphobia, and any other kind of discrimination and violence.

The march was very visible due to a number of red umbrellas. The participants were also holding banners and shouting several slogans, such as “Demolish the House of the President, make a brothel there!”, “Do not police prostitution, respect the law!”, “Prostitutes are here, where are the killers?” etc. During the demonstration, several politicians joined, and they took the photos together with sex workers. The demonstration had a positive feedback from the participants and observers, and it also had media attention.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Sex workers activists of Association PROI marked May Day Protest in Sarajevo by taking photographs with red umbrella and sign „Sex work is work!“ with statues of women and in the very famous cafe Tito in front of the sign 1st of May, Labour day. The most important action was leaving red umbrella with a sign „Sex work is work“ at the most famous statue in Sarajevo, „Figure on a chair“, representing the resistance to the war, which symbolically represented the resistance to discrimination towards sex workers on May Day.


For May Day Bulgarian sex workers organization Health and Social Development Foundation continued a campaign they did in the frame of INDOORS project 2013 and 2014. Within this project they produced a card targeting clients of sex workers and general population declaring that SEX WORK IS WORK. The outreach team visited sex workers practicing mainly outdoors in Sofia and nearby cities. The team distributed cards to 48 female sex workers and 8 men who are their partners/bodyguards/managersand. The team also initiated discussions with sex workers and their managers on their rights and obligations during outreach work . The discussions generally went into the direction of pros and cons of legalization of sex work in Bulgaria.


Red umbrellas joined the Solidarity March of all workers on 1st of May, in Skopje.