Today is June 2, the 46th International Sex Workers’ Day (#ISWD2021).
Every year sex workers mark today to celebrate 100 French sex workers occupying Saint-Nizier Church in Lyon in 1975, commonly accepted as the birth of the modern sex workers’ rights movement.
French sex workers were protesting the terrible living conditions, criminalised environment and the police brutality and their lack of action to investigate a series of murders of sex workers. Their protest in Saint-Nizier Church lasted eight days before the church was raided. The event sparked a worldwide movement.
Since then sex workers’ rights movement grew exponentially and became one of the most inspiring, vibrant, and enduring movements despite the constant stigma, silencing, violence, criminalisation, and other structural barriers to sex worker organising. Forty-six years after the occupation of Saint Nizier church, 261 sex workers in France, the majority of them are migrants, are taking France to the European Court of Human Rights to get French law of criminalisation of clients to be recognised as a human rights violation against sex workers.
We invite our allies to join us in celebrating International Sex Workers’ Day to increase awareness and show solidarity with sex workers. Join us in our fight against stigma and criminalisation, find ways to include sex workers in your organisations meaningfully, create opportunities that allow us to voice our demands and support the full decriminalisation of sex work.
Not just today, every day!