Who do you work with?:
Sex workers of all genders.
How are sex workers involved in your organisation?:
Red Umbrella Sweden is a sex workers only organisation. All of our members are current or former sex workers. Our board consists of 100% sex workers as do our working groups, including our spokespeople.
Which of NSWP priority areas does your organisation work on?:
Oppose the criminalisation and other legal oppression of sex work and support its recognition as work
Critique the trafficking paradigm that conflates representations of sex work, migration, and mobility
Advocate for universal access to health services, including primary health care, HIV and sexual and reproductive health services
Speak out about violence against sex workers, including violence from police, institutions, clients, and intimate partners, while challenging the myth that sex work is inherently gender-based violence
Oppose human rights abuses, including coercive programming, mandatory testing, raids and forced rehabilitation
Challenge stigma and discrimination against sex workers, their families and partners, and others involved in sex work
Advocate for the economic empowerment and social inclusion of sex workers as sex workers
What are the two main challenges that the sex workers you work with face:
In Sweden we work under the Swedish model which endangers, isolates and infantilizes sex workers. Our vices are silenced and excluded from the debate and from involvement in policy making around the issue of sex workers’ rights and needs. Another big issues is the two tier system the Swedish model has created, where sex workers who are Swedish nationals, at least in theory, have the right to financial support, health and mental health care, social services and various ways to exit the sex industry while migrant and mobile workers are excluded. Migrant sex workers are also routinely equated with victims of trafficking and are targeted by police as well as robbed of agency in the public debate.
Describe other areas of your work:
As well as fighting for the rights, safety, justice and self determination of sex workers and advocating for a full decriminalisation of sex work, Red umbrella Sweden focuses on building a thriving community where members can get peer-support and organise together. We organise workshops, events and meet-ups, run a very active member forum and a warning list. We believe that breaking the isolation and uniting Swedish sex workers is key to a strong sex worker movement and a starting point for ensuring more sex worker voices are heard in the Swedish debate.