Thursday, November 05, 2009

Call for art, spoken word, music- Sex worker rights are Human rights!

In conjunction with International Human Rights Day on December 10th, a coalition of New York-based sex worker rights, anti-violence and decriminalization advocates are hosting a Human Rights Speak-Out and Arts Evening. You are encouraged to submit your work!

We are looking for:
- pieces that connect to or highlight themes in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (see and the examples below); and to the idea that criminalization of sex work leads ultimately to human rights violations.
- visual art; and short (2 to 7 minutes) spoken word or poetry pieces, musical pieces, theater shorts, films, etc.
- current/ former sex workers, and folks who are otherwise in communities that are heavily impacted by criminalization and policing of sex work are especially encouraged to submit

Submit to : and
For spoken word and performance, please email written copies if possible. For film, either mail a copy or send an online link to view. For visual art, please either send JPG images (no more than 2) or otherwise call to make arrangements to submit.

Submit by: November 25th

Be sure to keep Dec. 10th on your schedule! Travel stipends for local NYC area travel to the event on the evening of December 10th may be available for submitting artists. Please keep in mind that the event will be promoted to media outlets in order to try to bring a sex worker rights and human rights message to a wider audience.

Here are some examples of conditions faced by sex workers and articles of the UDHR that correlate:

Sex workers and people profiled as sex workers are often ignored when they report violence, rape, or other crimes against them, and even presumed to have brought the violence on themselves. Frequently, they face violence, including sexual violence and extortion, at the hands of the police.

Article 3.

* Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Article 5.

* No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Article 7.

* All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

People, particularly transgender folks and people of color are often profiled as sex workers and arrested. For example in Washington, DC, officers can arrest people they “presume to be prostitutes” in so-called Prostitution Free Zones.

Article 9 of the Declaration says:

* No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

Article 20.

* (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

Criminalization and stigmatization create enormous obstacles to sex workers organizing for labor rights, and sex workers sometimes face discrimination when they seek different work.

Article 23.

* (1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
* (2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
* (3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
* (4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

Article 25.

* (1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

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