3rd March is International Sex Workers’ Rights Day. This day’s history goes back to 2001, when over 25,000 sex workers of India gathered in Kolkata for a sex worker festival organised by Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee, despite efforts from prohibitionist groups who tried to prevent it taking place by pressuring the government to revoke their permit. Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee strongly felt that sex workers should have a day which need to be observed by the sex workers’ community globally. Since then, sex worker communities across the world celebrate 3rd March as International Sex Workers’ Rights Day.
For more than three decades, we have been working for the rights of sex workers. To make the movement successful across the country, the All India Network of Sex Workers was set up by Durbar with an aim of improving the overall development of the nearly one crore sex workers and their dependent families across India.
The sex workers and advocates around the world organize protests, gatherings, film screenings, art shows, and lectures to raise awareness about human rights abuses which sex workers faces in their day to day life.
Since we want social and legal recognition in the sex trade, we do not want any minor or unwilling adult to enter the profession. That is why we have so far managed to remove about 1500 minors and unwilling adolescents from this profession through Self-Regulatory Board. Like other work, sex work is also a work. Durbar has developed networks with various labor organizations in India.
In 8th May 2021, our beloved Sir, Dr. Smarajit Jana, the founder of Durbar, has left us. However, he has taught us to fight and protest against injustice and to live with dignity. We will take our movement forward.
- To change the provisions of the law in ITPA which is against the interests of sex workers.
- To recognize sex work as work and include sex workers in labour law.
- To recognize Self-Regulatory Board for prevention of trafficking at state and central level and provide financial grants through government departments for its expansion.
- Stop extortion, snatching and police brutality in sex villages.
Today, on this special day, we oath to stop any unjust violence surrounding this profession. From 3rd March to 8th March 2022, we are uniting to establish equal rights for women of all walks of life, including sex workers, through various programs in all Red Light Districts of West Bengal, Kolkata. More than 65,000 sex workers and their children are working together to establish equal rights for women at all levels of society through various programs. By removing the boundaries of good and bad women, we want all women should have the same identity, they are just women.
You too can join us in this movement and strengthen our hands and fight against the oppression and injustice of sex workers.