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International Sex Workers’ Day 2024 – June 2

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International Sex Workers' Day - June 2 2024International Sex Workers’ Day, also known as International Whores’ Day is annually observed across the globe on 2nd June to recognise and honour sex workers globally and raise awareness about the issues sex workers face and about their exploited working conditions.

  • International Sex Workers’ Day serves to amplify the voices of sex workers and demand justice and equal rights globally.
  • Each year, International Sex Workers’ Day is commemorated by the Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP), focusing on the theme “Access to Justice”.

Note: NSWP is a private not-for-profit global organisation that advocates for the health and human rights of sex workers.


i.On 2nd June 1975, approximately 100 sex workers occupied Saint-Nizier Church in Lyon, France, to protest against their criminalised and exploitative living conditions.

  • They also launched a media campaign to show their grievances to the world.

ii.Since 1975, the 2nd June of every year is commemorated as the International Sex Workers’ Day in Europe and worldwide.

Sex Workers as Rights Holders:

i.The following 8 human rights are recognised and ratified by most countries as fundamental:

  • Right to associate and organise;
  • Right to be protected by the law;
  • Right to be free from violence;
  • Right to be free from discrimination;
  • Right to privacy and freedom from arbitrary interference;
  • Right to health;
  • Right to move and to migrate; and
  • Right to work and free choice of employment.

Rights of Sex Workers in India:

In June 2022, the Supreme Court of India acknowledged sex work as a legitimate profession, emphasising that sex workers deserve to be treated with decency and dignity.

Protection of Rights:

i.Sex workers and their children are protected under Article 21 (right to life) of the Indian Constitution.

ii.Government officials are prohibited from interfering or taking criminal action when adults engage in consensual sex work.

Legal Framework:

i.Sex work in India is primarily governed by the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act (ITPA), 1956.

ii.Additional provisions are found in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Juvenile Justice Act, addressing sex work and trafficking.

Global Perspective:

Punitive Laws: 168 countries criminalise some aspect of sex work.

Progress: In May 2024, Queensland in Australia, decriminalised sex work, highlighting a growing recognition of the need for change.

Related Observance:

i.International Sex Workers’ Rights Day is annually observed on 3rd March, to raise awareness of the rights of sex workers.

ii.Sex Worker Pride is annually observed on 14 September to celebrate sex workers.

iii.International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers is annually observed on 17 December to call attention to hate crimes committed against sex workers globally.

Note: Sex Worker Pride joins 3 other days, to highlight crucial issues surrounding sex workers such as sex workers’ labour rights, access to justice and violence against sex workers, to make up 4 annual international sex worker rights days.