During the final day of the ILGA World Conference, held in Aotearoa New Zealand, LGBTI activists worldwide resolved to address the stigmatisation of sex workers, including in the LGBTI movement. The resolution passed in the closing session of the conference and opposes all forms of criminalisation and legal oppression of sex workers - an historic first for ILGA World, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association.
“By approving this resolution, our global LGBTI family is saying loud and clear that addressing violence, criminalisation and human rights violations against LGBTI and all sex workers must be a priority for our movement", said outgoing ILGA co-Secretaries General Ruth Baldacchino and Helen Kennedy. "LGBTI sex workers are an integral part of our communities and movements, and have shaped key moments in queer history: we must listen to their voices, stand by their side and continue our fight towards social justice for all".
Concerned by the high levels of violations, violence, discrimination and exclusion faced by sex workers, this global LGBTI network representing more than 1,500 organisations from each region of the world join a growing number of human rights, health and anti-trafficking organisations demanding governments recognise sex work as work, and protect sex workers’ labour and human rights.
ILGA World approved the resolution during its 30th World Conference, held in Aotearoa New Zealand - a country that decriminalised sex work in 2003, establishing an integrative policy allowing sex workers to choose their place, type, and method of work, including the right to refuse clients. This has been recognised as being among the best practices for sex work policy and law by the UN and other international organisations, as well as women’s organisations in New Zealand, including the Maori Women’s Welfare League, the largest indigenous women’s organisation in the country.