International Sex Workers' Day: Theme is Access to Justice; history and significance

International Sex Workers' Day is marked every year on 2 June. This day is celebrated in order to amplify the voices of those involved in sex work. The living conditions of sex workers are often exploitative. It is because of the reason that sex work is criminalised in several countries and therefore, its workers are not treated like those working in other professions. Due to the lack of rights which are offered to other workers, sex work is often risky.

International Sex Workers' Day History

In 1975, as many as 100 sex workers in France gathered at Lyon’s Saint-Nizier Church and protested against the criminalisation of their work and exploitative living conditions. The protest happened on 2 June and this is why it is today marked as International Sex Workers' Day.

The 1975 protest also lead to a national strike but could not drive in any reforms and after occupying the church for eight days, the sex workers were removed by the police. However, the protest is considered to have started the rights’ movement for sex workers in Europe.

International Sex Workers' Day Theme and Significance

According to the Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP), the theme of International Sex Workers' Day every year is Access to Justice. There are several barriers faced by sex workers when accessing justice, as victims and as well as defendants.

It is significant as even today, sex workers around the world are struggling to get basic rights. The day acts as a platform to demand equal rights for sex workers. It also celebrates the impact of the first protest and how when together, the community of sex workers is stronger.