March 3rd is the 9th Annual International Sex Workers Rights Day
The following is some history from SWOP-USA (Sex Workers Outreach Project):
History of March 3rd, International Sex Worker Rights Day – 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 or DMSC (2002): “We felt strongly 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: 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.