Sex workers have taken part in an “iconic” workers’ rights march for the first time.
A group of campaigners from charity Scot-Pep and grassroots organisation the Sex Worker Advocacy and Resistance Movement (Swarm) joined thousands of others activists for the annual May Day march in Glasgow.
Scot-Pep tweeted afterwards: “So many good reactions today - someone came up to us and said ‘I’ve been part of the trade union movement for decades, good on you for being being here!’”
They took part in the protest as part of their campaign to decriminalise sex work and to win better protection against deportation for migrant sex workers. The group also highlighted the problem of violence against people working in the industry.
Sex worker Harley said: “I’ve never been a part of a workers’ movement before but I think it is vital for sex workers to be visible in places like this.
“Too often we are talked down to and made to feel like our struggles are not welcome in the workers’ rights movement - we’re here to say that we can speak for ourselves and no longer be spoken for. We demand workers’ rights.”
Fellow sex worker Molly stated: “It’s important for sex workers to be here on this iconic day for workers of all sorts - we are so often overlooked by the trade union movement, which in the past has even supported the continued criminalisation of our workplaces.
“Ironically, criminalisation makes us very vulnerable to workplace exploitation and abuse. We’re here demanding labour rights and solidarity, not criminalisation and poverty.”
The march was led off by by members of the Glasgow Equal Pay Campaign, who took part in the demonstration dressed in the style of the women workers at Ford’s Dagenham plant, who campaigned on the issue in 1968.