Sex Worker Rights Day started in 2001 when a sex worker organisation Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee in Kolkata, India gathered for a festival overcoming pressure from prohibitionist groups. Since then March 3rd became a globally recognised day by sex worker organisations to celebrate, motivate and bring a focus onto sex worker rights.
The Rainbow Project actively supports sex worker rights by participating and advocating for sex worker rights in Northern Ireland. We do this by providing education and awareness to the community. Most importantly we are providing direct support to sex workers as peers, educators and advocates.
Our monthly Sex Worker Only peer and social support meetups commenced in 2019 and continue to be a safe and non-judgemental space for sex workers. If you are interested in coming along to these sessions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The sex industry sees an over-representation, compared to other workforce industries, of LGBTQIA+ sex workers due to stigma and discrimination (homophobia and transphobia) experienced particularly by transgender people. Whilst recognising sex workers’ agency and autonomy to enter the industry, we also need to address the systemic societal issues that leave our LGBTQIA+ folks vulnerable with little choice for earning capacity. We all need to earn money!
We all deserve secure and safe employment underpinned by rights rather than criminalisation, the threat of exploitation and increased experience of violence due to the current laws in Northern Ireland. In 2019 the Department of Justice commissioned ‘A Review of the Criminalisation of Paying for Sexual Services In Northern Ireland’ by Queens University which states “a heightened fear of crime has contributed to a climate whereby sex workers feel further marginalised and stigmatised” (https://www.justice-ni.gov.uk/news/report-published-impact-sex-purchase-offence).
It is time we listen to sex workers and support their needs.
The Rainbow Project is currently researching the needs of sex workers in Northern Ireland with an aim to expand our services. We encourage sex workers to complete our online survey HERE or alternatively, you can contact email@example.com for more information.