Empower Foundation & English Collective of Prostitutes call for Sex Worker Participation in Women's Strike on 8 March

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Author: 
Empower Foundation Thailand

NSWP endorses Empower Foundation, Thailand and the English Collective of Prostitutes' call for sex worker participation during the Women's Strike on 8 March. This statement is being released on International Sex Workers' Rights Day. Their statement can be found below.

STATEMENT BEGINS: On March 8, in the spirit of solidarity as part of the International Women’s Strike, sex workers will strike against poverty, criminalization and stigma, whether by refusing to go to work, charging double rates or by any other action possible. 

We work selling sex in every country around the world. Our movement is inspired, fuelled and led by hundreds of thousands of sex workers. More than 87% of us are women, including transgender women; most of us are mothers. We take action to make the value of women’s work, including sex work, more visible. 

For decades sex workers have also been a driving force in the grassroots women’s movement. We are the women who outlasted George W Bush and his long crusade against sex work, and we will survive Trump. We may not always have been heard, but women sex workers have never been silenced; our united voice calling for justice has only grown stronger. 

Women sex workers have been part of the ‘feminism for the 99%’ since the very beginning of time. 

Our stories are the stories of all women in the 99%. We are mothers working to feed our children; we are migrant workers who support families back home; we are refugee women fleeing war and environmental devastation. We too have worked in the “hell factories” and on the land. We too have been forced into debt by rising prices and exploited in all types of waged work and in the unwaged work in our homes. Many of us also share the familiar dread of another day at work. We are from every country, race, religion and class. 

Sex workers strike against interference in our bodily autonomy in mutual solidarity with all other women; disabled, transgender, lesbian, mothers (including single mothers), queer, women of colour, women incarcerated, pregnant women, young and old .. who fight similar battles as we do in order to claim their own bodily autonomy. 

We strike in solidarity with women of colour, women incarcerated, migrant women, begging women, women who use drugs, transgender women, asylum seekers, Muslim women, and all women who like sex workers are stigmatised, discriminated against and persecuted by the law and law enforcement. 

We strike in solidarity with all women against poverty, inequality and austerity and in solidarity with all mothers against the devaluing and exploitation of women’s caring work, waged and unwaged, including our work, sex work. 

We strike in solidarity with all indigenous women, farming women, slum dwellers, women who live in public places, and all working class and poor women who are also threatened by land grabbing and gentrification as we are. 

We strike for decriminalization of sex work, to end criminal persecution and exploitation by corrupt authorities. 

We strike for a living wage for mothers and carers paid in cash or land. 

We strike for an end to stigma and the violence it fuels against sex workers. 

We strike for equal protection and access to justice as is our inherent right. 

We strike for respect for our human dignity under the law and in society. 

We strike to end assaults on our bodily autonomy by those promoting hatred and prohibitionist ideologies which serve to divide women from each other. 

We the sex workers of ‘feminism for the 99%’ refuse to be divided from our sisters any longer.