Today is International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. Trans*SexWorks planned to have a candle lit vigil on Frobenstraße to pay our respects and to remember sex workers who have been victims of violence in Germany and around the world; but as we have entered a new lockdown, we decided to do this from home and ask that you do the same. Violence against sex workers can be at the hands of a client, an intimate partner, the cops or a stranger on the street; and the state guarantees that this violence continues through the criminalisation of prostitution. Due to corona restrictions, prostitution has been illegal in Germany since mid-March 2020, but as we already know, sex work doesn’t simply disappear when it is forbidden – workers still need to make a living, and are simply forced into more secret, more dangerous situations. We believe full decriminalisation of prostitution is the only way towards a safe future for all sex workers. Considering the reality we are faced with now, Trans*SexWorks demands the following:
1. While sex work is illegal during the pandemic, the state should provide aid to ALL sex workers, regardless of their residence status or whether they are registered prostitutes
2. Too often trans women are denied access to women’s shelters and staying in men’s shelters can be humiliating and dangerous. Trans*Sexworks demands that new shelter be provided in the area where women work, where they know they can be free from harassment.
3. Gentrification has meant that many spaces where sex would take place are now fenced off or otherwise closed; there should be places to work where both clients and workers feel safe.
4. Sex workers should never be arrested or have to deal with police harassment as part of their job. There should be people – not police – who are properly trained to deal with the systemic issues that arise from the marginalisation of people who are sex workers/immigrants/Black/of colour/trans*/queer people/youth.
5. There needs to be clearer help and processes for trans workers to properly register as independent workers – help which these workers are already entitled to. Cis sex workers have organizations to help them with this process, the same should exist for trans sex workers.