Each year since 2003, December 17th marks the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers (IDEVAS), a day where Sex Workers and allies come together in towns and cities around the world to remember victims of violence and reinforce the message that crimes against Sex Workers will not be tolerated.

BONER stands with the global community in promoting a human, civil and labour rights agenda with Sex Workers, including their rights to safety, protection and Justice. Sex industry workers suffer high rates of violence, extraordinary levels of social stigma and are further harmed through punitive and ill informed policies. We recognise the often forgotten LGBTQI Sex Workers that can suffer additional discrimination both by clients and sometimes by the responding police who are supposed to be there to help them. This compounds the trauma to the victims who are reporting crimes against them. People of color, those living with HIV, and Sex Workers offering sex on drug “chem-sex” services also experience increased vulnerability to assault.

 We call on governments to listen to those in adult industries to better understand the complex issues facing Sex Workers.

Many adult performers offer multiple lines of sex work, including cam models, porn performers, strippers, independent escorts, those in brothels, and running sex phone lines and we stand in support their safety. Increasing censorship on social media and restrictions to how porn can be filmed in various countries, means that more and more services and content now occurs underground. Many Sex Workers find online tools vital when vetting clients, advertising in higher risk ways when these options are withdrawn. An underground market of sex work is not a safer one.

Porn productions that go on to be later pirated and uploaded to sites that monetise it, do not cater to the performers welfare. Here too, an underground market only increases risk. There are many factors contributing to vulnerabilities of Sex Workers. Two factors are, first and foremost, being forced into prostitution because of poverty, and treatment by employers outside the adult industries once a Sex Worker’s history is discovered. We call on governments to listen to those in adult industries to better understand the complex issues facing Sex Workers. Although many Sex Workers are happy and feel able to change work if desired, there are not enough labour rights in place to make sure that this is the case.

If you have personally been affected by any of these topics please contact your local Sex Worker Union such as SWARM (Sex Worker Advocacy and Resistance Movement), or ICRSE (International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers In Europe). All Sex Workers should also know about “the Buddy System” and the dangerous client checking service by NUM (National Ugly Mugs).

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