Human Rights / Labour

“Sex workers rights are human rights”

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Pink Life: Remember! Sex work is a form of work.

Pink Life LGBTT Solidarity Association’s (Pembe Hayat) press release on 3 March Sex Workers’ Day:

Pembe Hayat LGBTT Solidarity Association, since its foundation in 2006, continues to say in this 3 March Sex Workers’ Day;

“Sex Workers Rights Are Human Rights,”

“We Demand A World Without Bosses and Pimps.”

Turkish Penal Code and the relevant law decrees continue ignoring to define sex work as a form of work. The lack of legal recognition means that sex workers will continue working under un-sanitariy, un-secured, and un-registered conditions. Trans and cis women, men and other gender variant people laboring in sexual services industry continue to be stripped off their rights.

Sex workers in registered brothels face rights grabs and unjust treatment due to the increasing closure of registered brothels, not opening new working spaces, and not providing a sanitary, secured working areas to those women whose work places were taken away.

Arbitrary and unruly administrative fines on grounds of The Misdemanour Act Law continue to be implemented against trans women sex workers as a tool of repression and intimidation.

All the workers from trans and cis women, men and other gender variants laboring in sexual services industry can not benefit from pension, free health care services and other socio-economic rights that the state offers to other workers who are registered within Social Security system.

The income of sex workers gained under difficult circumstances, dangerous and open-to-risk unsecured working conditions, obstacles to access free health care services continue to be threatened by state institutions on the grounds of informal earnings.

The republic of Turkey does not define “prostitution” as a crime in its laws and relevant regulations. However, sex workers continue to be evaluated and interpreted as criminals when implementing those laws and regulations and by annexes to laws. This provides a legal basis for discrimination, stigmatization and social exclusion.

Trans women sex workers continue to be the spotlight of hate crimes and murders in Turkey. Trans women sex workers face multiple discrimination, stigmatization and social exclusion because of the lack of a legal framework preventing discrimination and human rights violations based on gender identity.

Pembe Hayat website, as a trans media tool in Turkey, recorded news that 58 trans women sex workers have been subject of hate crimes since 2015, while 6 trans women sex workers committed suicide because of social pressure. The mainstream/ national media ignores most of the news or presenting such news in a negative perspective legitimizing violence and discrimination.

Sex workers are able to use a limited space within cities, being forced into ghettos as if kept prisinors in a bordered area in the cities. Thus, this situation continues to nurture racketeering mobs and mafia relations from withing the community as well as from outside. Bosses and pimps continue to increase in varying characters everyday.

Sexual services providers do not file or report human rights violations to law enforcement agencies because of being framed and treated as potential criminals by officers, facing ill treatment and torture. The lack of trust towards justice and protection mechanisms continue.

Everyone should have a right to live in a just, equal, and free country.

Pembe Hayat LGBTT Solidarity Association, since 2008, continues to work on awareness raising in lifting obstacles before sex workers’ right to establishing their own collectives, unions and Professional associations.

Our call for “a World without bosses and pimps” is still relevant in 2018.

We emphasize the significance of continuing to act together and struggle against mobs, mafia relations, exploitation of sex workers labor, lack of laws, law enforcement agencies’ discriminatory and arbitrary practices, ill treatment and torture, violence and hate crimes while working, the negative language of media presenting such incidents.

On this occasion of 3 March Sex Workers’ Day, we call upon policy makers,

To decriminalize sex work with a broad perspective and interpretation of sex work as a labor sector,

To reform and revise relevant laws and law decrees for sex workers’ right to pension, insurance, free health care services, and socio-economic benefits the state provides with Social Security system,

To provide secured and sanitary working conditions,

To revise relevant laws and law decrees defining Safety of Work Place and Workers from an inclusive perspective,

To act on by acknowledging the concrete seperation between sex work and human trafficking,

To take preventive actions against the exploitation of sex workers by bosses and pimps,

To have efficient political strategy in fighting with STIs, HIV and Hepatitis C,

To lay down trainings for law enforcement agencies in providing just and equal treatment for all sex services providers without discrimination based on gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation,

To regulate legal brothels for trans inclusiveness with progressive employment policies,

To take measures in improving working conditions in existing work spaces.

Remember! Sex work is a form of work.

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