Sex worker legal rights
Image source: India Today

In honor of International Sex Workers’ Day, observed annually on June 2, we shed light on the experiences of sex workers worldwide and the challenges they face. This day serves as a reminder of the exploitative working conditions endured by sex workers and aims to raise awareness about their rights.

For centuries, individuals, particularly women, have turned to prostitution as a means of survival due to factors such as poverty, lack of education, and limited job opportunities for the unskilled. This practice is prevalent among marginalized groups, including Dalits and tribes from various religions.

The latest data indicates that India alone has approximately 3 million sex workers between the ages of 15 and 35. Globally, the number reaches 40-42 million, with 80% being female and ranging in age from 13 to 25. The demand for physical appearance and the ability to entertain multiple customers contribute to these numbers.

The history of International Sex Workers’ Day traces back to France in the 1970s. Prostitution was legal, but related activities such as pimping and operating brothels were not. Sex workers faced violence and discrimination while working in secret. In response, a group of sex workers in Lyon staged a strike from June 2, 1975, demanding better working conditions and an end to stigma. This marked the beginning of the international sex workers’ rights movement, and the first International Sex Workers Day was celebrated on June 2, 1976.

International Sex Workers’ Day continues to hold significant importance. Sex workers still encounter numerous difficulties, including limited access to justice and the denial of labor rights. Criminalization further exacerbates these issues, preventing sex workers from receiving the same benefits and protections afforded to other workers. This day serves as a call to action, urging society to acknowledge their struggles and treat them with the respect they deserve.

To truly empower sex workers, governments must take concrete steps to ensure their rights and access to justice. While complete eradication may not be feasible, concerted efforts can help alleviate the challenges faced by sex workers and create a more equitable society for all.

By recognizing International Sex Workers’ Day, we reaffirm our commitment to supporting and advocating for the rights of sex workers, working towards a more inclusive and just society.

Re reported the article from the story originally published in India Today

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