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March for Sex Workers Rights!

Monday, March 03, 2008
11:30 AM - 1:30 PM
Event Type:
Carol Leigh
Location Details:
Rally: 301 Eddy Street (Tenderloin Police Station)
March to: City Hall

SWOP-NORCAL is launching the first U.S. march to celebrate International Sex Workers' Rights Day, March 3rd.

Endorsed by: US PROStitutes Collective, Desiree Alliance, BAYSWAN, Different Avenues, the St. James Infirmary,
San Francisco Sex Worker Film and Arts Festival, Bay Area Radical Women

This inaugural celebration is especially important to sex workers in the Bay Area as we struggle to resist the escalating repressive policies of the Bush administration. This occasion renews our strength to demand recognition of our human rights as we struggle to combat violence and oppression against sex workers. This day reminds us that we are part of a global community of people who refuse to accept the discrimination against us and the criminalization of our work, our means to survive.

We appreciate the support we have received over the years from Bay Area individuals, organizations and communities and we celebrate YOU AND YOUR SUPPORT as part of this day!

SWOP-NORCAL invites you to join us and sex worker organizations around the world to celebrate the lives of sex workers as well as highlight sex workers' determination and strength.

We demand:

o Decriminalize Prostitution!
Endorse local petitions and initiative drives to decriminalize prostitution and prioritize safety.

o Stop The Raids! No More Deportations!
In the guise of rescuing women from traffickers, San Francisco Police Department collaborates with the U.S. Department of Justice, resulting in the deportation of women. The Bush administration, their globalization and trade policies are some of the root causes of trafficking. Sex workers should be empowered to address abuses in our communities rather than excluded through this administration's "anti-prostitution loyalty oath." Sex workers are part of the solution!

o No More Stings! Stop the Corruption! Stop the entrapment of prostitutes and their customers.
Clients and prostitutes are entrapped in stings, then 'blackmailed' by the District Attorney into attending stigmatizing, anti-prostitution 'reeducation seminars' (FOPP, First Offender Prostitution Program). The fees are exorbitant ($1000), but those arrested or cited attend, fearing exposure to their families, etc. But where has the money gone? Why is there no compliance with the San Francisco Sunshine Ordinance or financial audits? Although the Public Defender also sponsors a diversion program, why does the District Attorney enforce this monopoly on an expensive diversion option for prostitution related cases? Stop the corruption!

o Stop The Repression! Sex Workers and Migrants: Victims of Anti-trafficking
Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women recently published a report, Collateral Damage (, which explains how sex workers and migrants around the world are being targeted by repressive forces under the banner of anti-trafficking.
Fundamentalist feminists in the U.S. are lobbying congress to pass increasingly restrictive and punitive legislation targeting voluntary commercial sex. They propose a change in the definition of trafficking to blur the distinctions between forced prostitution and voluntary commercial sex. They propose expansion of the powers of the Department of Justice to monitor the voluntary sex industries federalizing all prostitution-related 'crimes,' which has even been rejected by the DOJ. Stop the repression!

History of March 3rd

The 3rd of March is International Sex Worker Rights Day. The day originated in 2001 when over 25,000 sex workers gathered in India for a sex worker festival. The organizers, Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee, a Calcutta based group whose membership consists of somewhere upwards of 50,000 sex workers and members of their communities. Sex worker groups across the world have subsequently celebrated 3 March as International Sex Workers' Rights Day.

Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee (2002): "We felt strongly that that we should have a day what need to be observed by the sex workers community globally. Keeping in view the large mobilization of all types of global sexworkers [Female,Male,Transgender], we proposed to observe 3rd March as THE SEX WORKERS RIGHTS DAY.

Knowing the usual response of international bodies and views of academicians and intellectuals of the 1st world [many of them consider that sex workers of third world are different from 1st world and can't take their decision] a call coming from a third world country would be more appropriate at this juncture, we believe. It will be a great pleasure to us if all of you observe the day in your own countries too...We need your inspiration and support to turn our dreams into reality.

Background: DMSC
The founding members of DMSC had come together through their active involvement as peer educators in a STD/HIV prevention intervention program, widely known as the Sonagachi Project, which has been running since 1992. Since then we have been successfully networking among sex workers in India and some other countries, particularly in South and South-East Asia, to foreground the demands for promotion and protection of our rights. Our political objectives are decriminalization of adult prostitution, securing social recognition of sex work as a valid profession and establishing sex workers right to self-determination. We [brought] together 80000 or more delegates for this seminal meet, the first of its kind in this part of the world. Although our resources are limited, our dreams are unbounded and our enthusiasm is high and commitment unwavering. With your support, we are determined to make this event a grand success. We believe ONLY RIGHTS CAN STOP THE WRONGS.

Added to the calendar on Sun, Mar 2, 2008 2:40PM
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