June 25, 2024

Athens News

News in English from Greece

International Day to Eliminate Violence against Sex Workers


20 years ago, December 17, was established as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Sex Workers and a day of remembrance for victims of brutal attacks.

This date is a “day of awakening” and making demands on what remains to be done at the legal and social level until the rights of sex workers are fully guaranteed.

Discrimination and stigmatization of work in the sex industry, as well as a lack of legal frameworks, make female workers particularly vulnerable to violence. This is evidenced by the fact that over the many years of work of the Red Umbrella centers, specialists received dozens of complaints about cruel behavior manifested in various forms and were called upon to provide advisory, legal and psychosocial support.

The main request of the Association of HIV Positive People in Greece Positive Voice and Red Umbrella is the revision of the law on sex work (2734/1999), since, in addition to the fact that it does not correspond to modern reality, it makes legal sex an extremely difficult job, especially in Athens. where most brothels operate without licenses, leaving sex workers unprotected and vulnerable to violence and exploitation.

A characteristic form of violence that sex workers often experience is concealment, defined as the removal of a condom without consent during sexual intercourse. As Angeliki Sugle, a lawyer at the Athens-based Red Umbrella Center, notes, “Violence against sex workers in our country comes in many forms and on a high scale. More vulnerable are people who work as sex workers and are also refugees, immigrants, and transgender people.
“The year 2023 saw an increase in violence across the country, culminating in the gruesome murder of a transgender refugee Anna Ivankova. This murder placed Greece on the sad list of Παγκόσμιου Παρατηρητηρίου, recording transphobic murders of people who mostly have sex. Our priority is the implementation of decriminalization policies and labor rights as a means of eradicating violence,” says the expert.

Supporting sex workers and protecting them from violence is a key focus of the “Dana – Empowering People Working in the Sex Industry” program, which implemented within the framework of the active fund program citizens, implemented by Positive Voice. The project provides legal and psychosocial support, testing for sexually transmitted diseases, sexual health counseling and sex worker training, and undertakes primary research and advocacy initiatives.

The €15 million Active Citizens Fund program is funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, and is part of the European Economic Area (EEA) funding mechanism for the period 2014-2021, known as EEA Grants. Program aims to strengthen and enhance the stability of civil society and highlight its role in promoting democratic processes, strengthening citizen participation in society and protecting human rights. The management of the Foundation’s Active Citizens program grant for Greece was jointly undertaken by the Bodosaki Foundation and SolidarityNow.



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