More than 100 street sex workers led a protest movement 46 years ago on 2nd June to raise a strong voice against inhumane working conditions and attitude of the police personnel towards the sex workers. Two recent murders at that time had triggered this outrage. The complaints of sex workers included indifference of police personnel towards the plight of the sex workers and instead of empathy they are given very harsh treatments. Police had threatened the protesting sex workers to end their outrage else there would be stringent fines and also their children will be removed. This was too harsh a statement to make and many women in general showed solidarity with the sex workers by challenging the police to dare to remove their children as well.
It was a successful movement:
- Police had threatened the protesters with fines which were written off
- Serious investigations on the murders started
- There were similar protests in other cities putting the plight of the sex workers to the forefront
- The protest became the foundation of sex workers’ rights movement of the international level
After 46 years, it can be said that the movement was powerful. Perhaps this is why at least some stigma has got removed from the stature of sex workers. They are now considered professionals too and people do not consider them as lowly as was the outlook towards them previously. However, there is immense scope of improvement in their lives and how they are still treated. Some of them still fear losing their children and battle indifference at many levels.
Sex workers can be each other’s biggest support systems
Though several NGOs and government initiatives are backing and working towards easier life of sex workers and their children. What is required is a strong support system for this community as a whole. They can be there for each other unconditionally. Unity will make their voices stronger and the foundation that was laid down in the year 1975 in France would result in more powerful outcomes. Even when sex workers are the marginalised members of society, togetherness amongst them would instil lots of power so that the voices are heard with more deliberations. Together they can fight both violence and aggression.
No human being on earth deserves discriminations and it applies to sex workers as well. Perhaps this is why there is a day called the International Sex Workers’ Day so that all of us get reminded of equal social benefits and rights for the sex workers as they are a part of our society.