Today is the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. MARUAH, as a human rights organisation, stands in solidarity with human rights defenders and sex workers worldwide to observe and commemorate this day, dedicated to the protection of the rights, safety, and dignity of sex workers.
Sex workers in most parts of the world are in a marginalised and discriminated segment of society. Their rights as sex workers include the right to safe sex, right to fair wages, right to protection from abuse, right for sex work to be recognised and be seen as work, right to form associations for mutual support and protection, and the right to not be discriminated against.
In Singapore, despite the presence of licensed brothels, there is a growing community of sex workers who are freelancing. They risk being exploited. MARUAH would like to raise awareness to their plight, even though they are operating outside the licensed brothels.
Some among them as well as those working in licensed brothels may be forced or sold into prostitution. These women and men, usually young, who are identified as trafficked persons, must be given protection, and they should not be criminalised and re-victimised by the authorities, in the process.