Rallies mark International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers - in pictures

Sex workers are calling for their profession to be decriminalised 

Kashmira Gander
Thursday 17 December 2015 18:15 GMT
Sex workers march in Macedonia
Sex workers march in Macedonia

Sex workers have gathered to raise awareness about the brutal treatment those in their profession face to mark the 12th annual International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers.

Images show protesters in Kenya and Macedonia taking to the streets clutching red umbrellas: the symbol of sex workers’ rights.

Meanwhile in Scotland, sex workers called for laws preventing them from gathering to be scrapped.

Organisations and charities including ScotPep and the Sex Worker Open University are backing plans put forward by independent MSP Jean Urquhart's to decriminalise prostitution and allow up to four sex workers to offer their services at the same premises.

In a statement issued by the Global Network of Sex Work Projects signed by charities and organisations across the world, sex workers drew attention to the variety of issues they face in different cultures and regions.

However, the statement stressed: “one common issue faced by all sex workers is their vulnerability to and experience of violence.”

“Sex workers are not accepted by society, which makes them vulnerable to various threats of violence. Female, male and transgender sex workers are exposed to different types of violence everyday and their human rights are violated.

“Police and law enforcement officials, detention centres health care professionals, and programme implementers violate their human rights every day. Sex workers also experience violence from members of their communities and their families.”

The signatories from organisations including the African Sex Workers Alliance (ASWA), Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers (APNSW), Sex Workers’ Advocacy Network for Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia (SWAN), International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe (ICRSE), and La Plataforma Latinoamerica de Personas que Ejercen el Trabajo Sexual (PLAPERTS) demanded that criminalisation is ended, and that those in the industry are granted equal access rights to health and social services.

They also called for police officers and officials to be retrained to better understand the difficulties facing sex workers, as well as universal access to treatment and testing for STIs, as well as an end to condoms being used as evidence of sex work.

Additional reporting by PA

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