"Knowing Your Rights and Challenging Violence"

 

Logo ICRSE

The International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe (ICRSE) is pleased to present this collection of resources under the theme of "Knowing Your Rights and Challenging Violence". We selected examples of campaigns and resources that have been developed by sex workers and sex worker led groups. The resources are available in their original language and have been translated into English and French where appropriate.

This resource compliments the "Rights and Health" resources being produced by TAMPEP as part of this OSI Sexual Health & Rights Program, funded project. Together these resources are intended to inspire and support your work in promoting the health and rights of sex workers everywhere.

We hope that you find the examples useful and inspiring.

In this collection you will find the following resources:

Empowerment and Rights

Anti-violence Campaigns

Along with a translated descriptive guideline for each resource we have included any available visual materials for inspiration, relevant internet links, and a some simple ideas for how you could use the resource for future action.

In addition we have included a glossary on sex work, trafficking and HIV/STIs. This glossary was prepared by TAMPEP to provide some clarity about appropriate, non-stigmatising terminology and a definition of commonly used terms related to sex work.

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manifesto poster

‘Beyond Tolerance and Compassion for the Recognition of Rights.’ Manifesto - Comitato

Description:

The Committee for the Civil Rights of Prostitutes in Italy (CDCP) is a non-profit association that was founded in 1982 by sex workers in Italy. CDCP organised a campaign about the civil rights of sex workers in 2000. By distributing a manifesto, written by sex workers and voicing their concerns about the ways in which their rights are violated, the campaign aimed to challenge the stigma against prostitution and sex workers. The slogan used was ‘Beyond Tolerance and Compassion for the Recognition of Rights.’

CDCP Logo
Logo CDCP

This campaign was selected because it was one of the first campaigns in Europe in which sex workers themselves created the messages.

How the resource was developed:

The text of the manifesto was designed to be powerful, easy to read and to the point. Press releases were issued through daily newspapers, and via e-mail. An online petition was developed along with the poster campaign. Well known intellectuals and artists were asked to sign the petition. Electronic versions of the manifesto in Italian and English were distributed to sex workers organisations across Europe.

How the resource was used:

As part of the campaign 4000 large format posters of the manifesto were printed, many were placed in public places and on the streets. The poster campaign was supported by  press releases issued throughout the campaign and information material related to the campaign.

Impact:

At the time of the Manifesto campaign in Italy there was great media attention and many articles included some of the rights statements found in the manifesto. Many  individuals and organisations signed the petition. Also other groups sensitised by this campaign organised public debates at the time, including, in Napoli, Perugia and Milan.

The online and print versions of the petition were signed by thousands in Italy and across Europe. The results of the petitions were published in the press to make the level of support visible to the public. The signed petition was used to support political action. It was sent to the responsible Ministers and to many other parliamentarians.

Ideas:

Creating a manifesto is a great way to bring sex workers together to focus on and express those issues most important to them. A poster is a good way to make visual impact to draw public attention and influence opinion.

CDCP Italy Manifesto - EN/RU/FR (114kb)

"Beyond Tolerance" poster IT (1.18MB)

"Beyond Tolerance" poster EN (546kb)

Website of Comitato, Italy

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PIC Respect Poster

RESPECT Poster Campaign

Description:

The Prostitution Information Centre (PIC) participated in a joint project "Healthy and Strong in Prostitution" along with health departments and outreach projects working with sex workers in the Netherlands.

As part of this project the PIC produced the "RESPECT" and self-defence posters included in this resource and conducted self-defence trainings for sex workers working in window brothels.

PIC Logo
Logo PIC

How the resource was developed:

A Poster was designed using the concept of RESPECT. The language was developed in consultation with sex workers. A second poster was also developed using simple black & white drawings and limited text to give tips to sex workers for self-defence. The PIC also organised self-defence 'trainings' in the form of street theatre.

How the resource was used:

The RESPECT poster was distributed to organisations providing services to sex workers and placed in workplaces such as brothels and rental offices for window workers.

Impact:

The RESPECT poster affirms the autonomy and self-confidence of sex workers and it reminds business owners and clients of the rights of sex workers.

Ideas:

Use the text from the RESPECT poster as a starting point for creating positive messages with sex workers. Post these in a visible place to remind everyone that sex workers are smart and strong.

Translation RESPECT!(317kb)

PIC "RESPECT" Poster (193kb)

Website of PIC, Netherlands

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Red Umbrella Symbol

The Red Umbrella: symbol of sex workers rights

Description:

The Red Umbrella is the international symbol of sex workers rights. Since 2001 red umbrellas have been used in public demonstrations and celebrations by sex workers and allies. Graphic versions of the red umbrella have also been developed. The red umbrella symbolises resistance to and protection from abuse and discrimination.

How the resource was developed:

The red umbrella was first used as part of a collaborative art project in Venice, Italy in 2001.

Parasite Gallery Image Pogacar
Photo: Tadej Pogacar 2001
The so-called "First World Congress of Sex Workers was an art installation and public demonstration by the Slovenian artist Tadej Pogacar" and sex workers from Comitato per I Diritti Civili delle Prostitute from Pordenone, Italy.

In 2005 the International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe (ICRSE) adopted the red umbrella and used it during a street demonstration during the European Conference on Sex Work, Human Rights, Labour and Migration in Brussels, Belgium. A graphic symbol was also developed for the conference materials and website.

Photograph Quentin Deltour 2005
Photo: Quentin Deltour

How the resource was used:

In both 2001 and 2005 sex workers participated in Red Umbrella Marches. Since 2005 sex workers have increasingly used the red umbrella for performances, protests, media releases, on websites and in other resources. Empowerment workshops have been conducted with sex workers using the red umbrella as a symbol around which to talk about rights.

The red umbrella is both subversive, a normal everyday object, and powerful; in groups it creates tremendous visual impact.

Impact:

The impact of the march in 2005 was international. Images of the march were very powerful and sex workers around the world recognise the importance of strategic visibility. Included in this resource are images of red umbrella moments since 2001.

Ideas:

ICRSE umbrella small no text
Red Umbrella

Add a red umbrella to your organisation letterhead, website or in your email signature. Use for demonstrations or print your organisation logo and a rights slogan on red umbrellas and use them as gifts to public officials or for fundraising. Decorate your centre with beautiful red umbrellas!

Promote the red umbrella as a rights symbol to sex workers.

Red Umbrella logos (140kb)

Website of Parasite Gallery, Slovenia

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Ni Coupables, Ni Victimes DVD

"Ni Coupables, Ni Victimes"

Description:

"Ni Coupables, Ni Victimes"(37min) is a video record of the words and actions of sex worker and ally participants at the European Conference on Sex Work, Human Rights, Labour Rights and Migration (2005)

SexyShock Logo, Italy
Logo SexyShock, Italy

Produced by Sexy Shock in collaboration with ICRSE

How the resource was developed:

Media activists SexyShock and Scarlot Harlot were invited by the ICRSE to create a "video booth" at the “European Conference on Sex Work, Human Rights, Labour, and Migration 2005”. This made it possible to film participants willing to be on camera while protecting the identities of those who did not.

Interviews were made with conference participants who are sex workers and allies. Interview segments are blended with images from the street demonstration, performances and images with Scarlot Harlot and text taken from the Sex Workers in Europe Manifesto

The goal: making visible the voice of workers in the sex industry and reshaping the debate on ‘trafficking’ in terms of labour and migration rights in Europe.

How the resource was used:

Ni Coupables, Ni Victims CD label
ICRSE/SexyShock DVD

"Ni Coupables, Ni Victimes" has been distributed for free to all participants of the Brussels conference and has been screened to public audiences. A smaller size version will be available for viewing from the sexworkeurope.org website and distributed through other sites such as sexworkerspresent.blip.tv

Impact:

The impact of "Ni coupables, Ni Victimes" is ongoing. It is a record of an important historical moment for the sex workers rights movement. Here are the voices of sex workers discussing life, politics and activism.

Ideas:

Order your copy of the DVD for public screenings from info at sexworkeurope dot org.

Translation of "Ni Coupables, Ni Victimes" is now possible in almost any language www.dotsub.com. Contact the ICRSE to learn how you can help.

The online version of “Ni Coupables, Ni Victimes” is also available on the dotsub.com website. You can find the code to embed the video on your website there.

This film requires an internet connection to view. If you are having problems viewing go here

Website of SexyShock, Italy

Website of Carol Leigh aka Scarlot Harlot, USA

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cover of declaration booklet

Declaration & Manifesto Booklets

Description:

The Declaration of the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe and the Sex Workers in Europe Manifesto are the outcome of more than a year-long pan-European collaboration. The Declaration identifies human, labour and migrants rights that sex workers should be entitled to under international law. The Manifesto puts forward our vision of changes that are needed to create a more equitable society in which sex workers, their rights and labour are acknowledged and valued.

How the resource was developed:

Both the Declaration and the Manifesto were developed during a year long consultation with sex workers across Europe and with international human rights, labour and migration experts. The Manifesto drew on a number of national and international charters and manifestos developed by sex workers. The results were collated and the evidence gathered was used to produce the final Declaration and Manifesto which were further developed and ratified at the European Conference on Sex Work, Human Rights, Labour and Migration, Brussels 2005.

How the resource was used:

The Declaration and Manifesto are living documents.

17 October 2005, Vittorio Angoletto, Italian MEP, Confederal Group of the European United Left – Nordic Green Left signs the declaration. Photo Damien
Photo: Damien, MEP Vittorio Angoletto
signs Declaration

The Declaration has been translated into 14 languages and has been made available through many organisations' websites. Several organisations have printed the documents in booklet form for distribution and the Declaration has been presented at important national, regional and international meetings where sex workers or their advocates have been involved.

The Manifesto has been translated into 9 languages. It is also available through many websites. Organisations working with sex workers have reprinted and shared the Manifesto in drop-in centres and at various meetings and text from the manifesto has been used for political actions.

Impact:

The process leading up to the finalisation and ratification of the Declaration and Manifesto in 2005 strengthened the solidarity of sex work rights activists across Europe.

Both documents continue to have wide internet presence.

The Declaration has proved an effective lobbying tool. It's power lies in the fact that it identifies human, labour and migrants rights that sex workers should be entitled to under international law in a language that policy makers understand but which remains accessible to others.

The Declaration and Manifesto continue to be important activist tools for sex workers and sex work rights advocates.

Ideas:

Translate the Declaration and/or Manifesto into your language! Contact info at sexworkeurope dot org for more info.

Create a newsletter with sex workers around one or more of the themes in the Manifesto.

Make a poster using one or more of the rights highlighted in the Declaration.

Send copies of the Declaration and/or Manifesto to your local politician or other relevant state representatives.

ICRSE Declaration (177kb)

ICRSE Manifesto (247kb)

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cover of protect yourself booklet

"Protect Yourself"

Description:

This handbook has been written with and for women working in the sex industry [in Scotland]. It contains common sense advice about keeping safe when working, whether on the streets, in establishments or escorting to homes or hotels.

How the resource was developed:

The advice in "Protect Yourself" comes from those who know best, sex workers themselves. The contents of this handbook includes the following:

SCOT-PEP Logo
Logo SCOT-PEP

The handbook was first published in 2003 and is the result of collaboration between Lothian Primary Care NHS Trust Centre for Management of Aggression, Scotland and SCOT-PEP - funded by Edinburgh Community Safety Partnership.

How the resource was used:

This resource is available for download from the SCOT-PEP website and is still being distributed in booklet form to sex workers in Edinburgh and copies have been shared with other sex work projects in the United Kingdom. The handbook was not copyrighted and anyone is free to use the text contained in the booklet.

Impact:

Almost 1,000 handbooks have been distributed and the handbook remains a useful tool to start discussions among sex workers about personal safety at work and to encourage sex workers to continue to share personal safety tips.

The collaboration between SCOT-PEP, the National Health Service and the Community Safety partnership (NHS, local authority and police) in producing this resource significantly supported and highlighted sex workers' right to protection from the state regardless of their involvement in sex work or legal status.

As technology changes how sex workers operate and policy disrupts the sex industry it is important to review and update personal safety advice to make sure it is relevant

Sample from "Protect Yourself"

Introduction:
Whether you work on the streets, in an establishment, or as an escort, your personal safety is of utmost importance. SCOT-PEP has published a personal safety handbook, "Protect Yourself". It contains plenty of advice – both general, and specific to different areas of the sex industry. Maybe you’ll pick up some new tips from it, or perhaps it will just reassure you that you’re already taking the right precautions. It also contains advice on what to do if things go wrong, and contact details of useful organisations in Scotland.

Ideas:

Only a few of the great tips in "Protect Yourself" have been translated for this resource CD. Use this resource to help you to develop your own personal safety resource for sex workers in your country.

Hold regular meetings with sex workers to find out what the greatest safety concerns are, share information about "bad dates/ugly mugs" or share your own personal safety tips.

Make posters of some of these tips to display for staff in workplaces or drop-in centres for sex workers - remember to leave a space for sex workers to add their own tips!

"Protect Yourself" booklet pdf (232kb)

Website of SCOT-PEP, Scotland

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PIC Self-defence Poster

Self-defence Tips Poster

Description:

The Prostitution Information Centre (PIC) participated in a joint project "Healthy and Strong in Prostitution" along with health departments and outreach projects working with sex workers in the Netherlands.

As part of this project the PIC produced the "RESPECT" and self-defence posters included in this resource and conducted self-defence trainings for sex workers working in window brothels.

How the resource was developed:

A Poster was designed using the concept of RESPECT. The language was developed in consultation with sex workers. A second poster was also developed using simple black & white drawings and limited text to give tips to sex workers for self-defence. The PIC also organised self-defence 'trainings' in the form of street theatre.

PIC Logo
Logo PIC

How the resource was used:

The self-defence poster was used in the classroom setting where sex workers came to learn self-defence skills. During the campaign self-defence tips were also shared using a street theatre concept in eight different locations in the red light district. A self-defence expert and actors re-created potentially dangerous situations and then illustrated simple techniques of self-defence. [maybe make link to explanation of street theatre-translation].

Impact:

The self-defence project reached a small number of sex workers who were able to fit classes into their schedule. Of greater impact was the street theatre concept which did not require workers to leave their workplace or attend a class outside of working hours. This concept of street theatre could be applied in many other sex work environments and for other issues.

Ideas:

Knowing a few simple self-defence skills can make a difference in tough situations. Create visual resources in collaboration with sex workers and a self-defence expert that can help them to protect themselves in their work environments.

Translation "Self-defence" poster (213kb)

PIC "Self-defence" poster (305kb)

Website PIC, Netherlands

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17 December Postcard

E-card Campaign for December 17 "Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers"

Description:

Electronic postcards (e-cards) designed by sex workers and advocates as a means of sharing political messages and protest on 17 December - International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers.

17 December e-card, Russia
Siberian Initiative, Russia 2007

The International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers was conceived in 2003 by US sex worker rights activist Annie Sprinkle, website, and started by The Sex Workers Outreach Project, website.(SWOP) USA,

17 December has become a global day of activism. On this day sex workers mobilise in resistance to the violence they face as a result of discrimination, abuse and violations of their rights and take the time to remember their colleagues, friends and family who have been victims of violence.

How the resource was developed:

17 December e-card HRN Ukraine
Harm Reduction Network,
Ukraine 2007

The e-card campaign was initiated in 2006 by the ICRSE. Through a special component on the ICRSE website it is possible to send images as electronic postcards.

Instructions were shared with ICRSE network members including ideas on how to make a postcard and how to submit the finished e-card image for the website. [link]

In 2007 the ICRSE collaborated with sex workers from the SWAN network to design e-cards for their 17 December campaign.

17 December e-card, Russia
Aids Infoshare, Russia 2007

How the resource was used:

Once e-cards were designed they were uploaded to the ICRSE website and to the SWAN Network website (2007) [Link] In 2007 print versions were made and distributed by some organisations. Contact lists of key international and national officials were shared and network members were encouraged to send an e-card during the 17 December campaigns.

Impact:

Each year the e-card campaign grows along with the global awareness about 17 December. With the technical capacity in place and by teaching more sex workers how to make their own protest e-cards the e-card concept can be applied to other political campaigns.

17 December e-card, Slovakia
Odyseus, Slovakia 2007

Ideas:

Making an e-card is easy and you do not need to know any special computer program to do it [link]. Bring together a group of sex workers and collaborate on one or two messages for 17 December or for another action. Create an image to go with your message on paper or on the computer. Your e-card can be sent to the ICRSE to share with others or put the images on your own website

DIY e-cards (71kb)

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Sex Words image

Glossary on Sex Work

Description:

This glossary was prepared by TAMPEP to provide some clarity about appropriate, non-stigmatising terminology and a definition of commonly used terms related to sex work. Also terms related to HIV/STIs and human trafficking are included in the glossary.

This resource was selected because it provides a useful tool for policy makers, service providers, sex workers and sex work projects on how to use more accurate and non-stigmatising language while writing official/formal documents on sex work issues. It also provides an explanation of some terms and notions most commonly used in the sex work sector.

Ideas:

Agreeing on some simple definitions helps to establish a common language and avoid confusion. This makes it possible to have clearer comparisons between individual experiences and practices and to analyse, without preconceived biases or prejudices, the differences existing between such experiences and practices.

Use this resource as a basis for drawing up a list of terms that will be useful within your local context and communications with sex workers, service providers, the media and policy makers. Make this list visible in your centre or office. Use this resource as material to educate journalists about the words and definitions sex worker activists use to talk about themselves and their work.

Glossary on Sex Work (78kb)

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