Respect our choice! The world celebrates International Sex Worker Rights Day

March 3rd is International Sex Worker Rights Day. Its history began in 2001 when over 25,000 sex workers gathered for a festival in India. The event was hosted by the Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee, a Calcutta based group, representing the interests of more than 50,000 sex workers and members of their communities. Since that time, March 3 is celebrated all over the world.

But even though the global society is developing as quickly as possible, in many countries sex workers are seen as criminals and “fallen” people, causing “undermining of traditional values”. Alas, the region of Eastern Europe and Central Asia is no exception. Justifying themselves in this way, governments in some countries support the criminalization of sex work and campaigns aimed at discriminating against the rights of this key group. And even where sex work is not subject to any administrative or criminal prosecution, police raids, violence, humiliation, and insults from society and even family members are not uncommon.

The REActors of the EECA region make every effort to constantly monitor and address situations where there is a violation of the rights of sex workers and workers. Today we bring to your attention several publications with an overview of the situations in Moldova, Tajikistan, and Georgia, as well as the support and struggle of paralegals against discrimination against this key group in these countries.

Tajikistan. Said, REActor: “…I made a rule for myself: once you start to defend, then fight to the end. Otherwise, you will lose both trust and authority.”

Georgia. Kakha Kvashilava, REAct National Coordinator: “The attitude towards violence in the country is as strict as possible, therefore the attitude of the police towards the victim from this key group is the same as in any other case: adequate and within the framework of the powers granted by law.”

Moldova. National REActor: “Persecution and violence against girls by law enforcement agencies occur on an ongoing basis, they are discriminated against and humiliated, and they can be beaten, but they refuse to write complaints, knowing that they are being prosecuted by law.”

Today and always it is worth remembering that sex work is an activity like any other, which requires acceptance and respect. And its representative – respect for the rights and non-discrimination to himself/herself and his/her choice.

Also read:

The right to a decent and fulfilling life: the world celebrates Zero Discrimination Day

Sustainability as a priority: REAct is continuing to function in Georgia in 2023