On June 2nd of 1975, more than 100 prostitutes occupies the Saint-Nizier church in Lyon, France to draw attention to the inhumane working treatment of sex workers. This event occurred after the murder of three prostitutes in the French city and lasted approximately eight days before the women were removed by the police.
Every year, their occupation is remembered on June 2nd through the observation of International Sex Workers Day or International Whores' Day. And more than 40 years later, men and women continue to advocate for the rights of sex workers around the world.
But what exactly are they fighting for? Well, first and foremost, for decades sex workers have been demanding better government policies and laws to protect their ability to work safely. According to the Urban Justice Center, 80% of street-based sex workers experience violence during their careers and in a 2014 study published in the American Journal of Public Health, increased policing and criminalization correlate to an increase in violence against sex workers. And when it comes to the murder of sex workers, black and transwomen are especially vulnerable, with 1/3 prostitute homicides affecting transwomen despite occupying only .3% of the US population.
Because of these statistics, men and women from around the world gathered both online and IRL yesterday to protest the systemic injustice that impacts people in the sex work industry. Take a look at just a few of the inspiring sentiments shared by sex work advocates, such as self-proclaimed "naked activist" Rebecca Crow and celebrated stripper/artist Jacq the Stripper for examples of influencers using their platforms to continue the conversation of de stigmatizing sex work.