International Sex Worker Rights Day & International Women's Day - March 2011

International Sex Worker Rights Day – 3rd March 2011


On 3rd March 2001 in India many thousands of sex workers took to the streets to protest against the violence and discrimination they experienced – this led to the creation of International Sex Worker Rights Day.

This day in March also marks the day, in 2009, when sex workers came together from southern, western and eastern Africa to form the African Sex Worker Alliance, which now has members in many African countries. 

This year, sex workers from nine African cities, in Kenya, Botswana, Mozambique, Nigeria, Uganda and Zimbabwe, as well as South Africa marched for their human rights, to demand access to health services and to mark International Sex Worker Rights Day this year. 

In Zambia and Limpopo state, South Africa marches were cancelled due to police or authorities refusing permission. 

News reports and more information on the marches can be found here. 

Eye Witness News  Independent Online  Global Post  SABC News  Mail & Guardian Online 

There have been several reports however of a backlash by police against sex workers in the region since the marches. Read a press release from SWEAT here.   

Many events also took place in the US.  For more information see the links below.

SWOP USA  Red Umbrella Diaries 


International Women’s Day – 8th March 2011

DMSC steered a two month long ‘Mela’ – a programme of activities focusing on women’s rights to celebrate the centenary year of International Women’s Day between 8th January and 8th March 2011.  The programme included a film festival, series of discussion workshops and debating sessions, cultural programme and open fair. 

Karnataka Sex Workers Union based in Mysore, India organised women sex workers from across the state who came together to observe the 100th anniversary of IWD, demanding the right to work with dignity.

In Latin America, Redtrasex also used International Women’s day to call for sex workers rights and for the recognition of sex work as work, reflecting that the majority of people living under extreme poverty and marginalisation in Latin America and the Caribbean are women.