Today we mark International Sex Workers’ Day. On this day we recognize the extraordinary and intersectional discrimination faced by sex workers who use drugs and the urgent need for decriminalisation and full attainment of our human rights.
At the same time, we celebrate the humanity and resilience of sex workers who use drugs as we continue to demand that sex work is recognised as work and to claim our bodily autonomy.
This statement points to the unmet needs of sex workers who use drugs. Too often as either sex workers or as drug users we are overlooked in service delivery. This is despite the compounded health and violence risks, extortion, disproportionate incarceration and other human rights violations we experience.
The Women and Harm Reduction International Network (WHRIN) calls attention to the need for tailored gender responsive harm reduction. General harm reduction services need to be responsive to the realities of sex workers who use drugs. This includes ensuring safe sex working and drug consumption environments.
Sex workers who use drugs do not ask to be ‘rescued’ but demand access to social and administrative justice.
- We call for:
- bodily autonomy, including the right to choose what substances to put into our bodies
- freedom to choose when, where, how, with whom, and why to have sex
- decriminalisation of buying and selling sex and of drug use
- HIV programming that recognises intersectional issues impacting sex workers who use drugs
- the meaningful participation of sex workers and people who use drugs in all policy making spaces – nothing about us without us