U.S. acknowledges human rights needs of sex workers

This year, the United States participated in a Universal Periodic Review (UPR) – a process set up by the Human Rights Council at the United Nations to assess the level of human rights in each country. The U.S. received more than 200 recommendations. Recommendation 86 called on the Obama Administration to “…ensure access to public services paying attention to the special vulnerability of sexual workers to violence and human rights abuses.”

The Sex Workers Project joined a coalition, “Human Rights for All: Concerned Advocates for Sex Workers and People in the Sex Trade” to convince lawmakers to accept the recommendation. We made an official statement to the United Nations, sent an expert letter to the Department of State, and organized with sex workers, human rights activists, and allies all over the country. Last week, the U.S. released report to the U.N. states saying, “We agree that no one should face violence or discrimination in access to public services based on sexual orientation or their status as a person in prostitution.” We believe this is the first time the United States has affirmed the need for human rights protections for sex workers.

To read a press release about this historic event, click here.

For more info about the coalition, click here.

Tomorrow, March 18th, in Geneva, the U.S. will formally endorse UN recommendation #86 and officially condemn violence and discrimination against sex workers. Tomorrow, demonstrations around the country will celebrate this victory and call on our communities to “86 the violence!” Please come out to the demonstration near you!

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