International Whores Day - 2020
“The 2nd June is International Whores Day in commemoration of the storming and takeover of a church in Lyon, France in 1975 by sex workers and their allies.
The action was in protest against the increasing number of arrests of street based sex workers, the relentless police harassment of those workers and the lack of interest shown by police in solving murders and other crimes committed against sex workers.
The sex workers and supporters in Lyons, challenged the police to come and arrest anybody who they could identify as a sex worker in the church, making the point that sex workers are ordinary people. At the protest predominately women with their children, made a strong stance as a direct action, that demonstrated that women doing a job such as sex work, cannot be told apart from other women, who do other work.
Inspired by this action and in reclaiming derogatory terms of that period “whore” against women as sex workers, sex workers all over the world started organizing, giving rise to the modern-day sex workers rights movement. Whore is a term that sex workers have reclaimed diligently and no longer is the term a slur. International Whores Day for sex workers is pride.
Sex workers in the Northern Territory have been fighting for over 20 years to have sex work recognised as work. The Northern Territory government in Nov 2019, passed the Sex Industry Bill in Parliament. The Sex Industry Act 2019, is law. The final stages of implementation in 2020 for the full decriminalisation of sex work with intersectional industrial protections, the provision of Work Health and Safety Guidelines and sex work business inserted into the Planning Scheme equitably, will provide NT sex workers with access to the same workplace health and safety protections as other Territorians.
NT Sex workers from SWOP NT and the Sex Worker Reference Group (SWRG) will continue to fight against systemic discrimination and stigma that we experience for choosing sex work as our profession. Additionally past and current sex workers who had been forced to register with the NT Police Commission for life, who still experience negative impacts due to the historical recording of their personal information are eager to see the day that their registrations will be destroyed.
SWOP NT and the SWRG in honour of International Whores Day will continue to advocate in 2020 for the Northern Territory government to work Territorians to Modernise the NT Anti-Discrimination Act and work together in 2021 to implement a Bill of Human Rights.”