In the current socio-political context in Greece, sex workers are exposed to physical and sexual violence due to the criminalization and intersection of various forms of oppression, such as sexism, pornophobia, homophobia, transphobia, racism and classism. Pro-sex work feminism advocates that ‘prostitution’ – or as the official term is now, sex work – can be a profession, which, like all other professions, involves class, gender and racial social relations and inequalities.
From 2015 to date, a significant number of sex workers have reported to Red Umbrella Athens the problems of repression by the authorities and the lack of services for their professional and social integration. The illegal status of sex workers and auxiliary staff is created and significantly reinforced by the unfeasible implementation of Law 2434/1999. Their social exclusion and the multiple discrimination they suffer violate every human and labor right, resulting in them being forced into conditions of social precariousness, poverty, violence and the risk of exposure to HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.
Red Umbrella supports the immediate implementation of the reforms proposed by the Ombudsman in the conclusion published on 6 November 2003 under No. Prot.: 14667/03/2.1, concerning “proposals for the amendment of the legal framework regulating the terms and conditions for the exercise of the activity of persons acting on a fee basis, in order to allow for the immediate activation of the law, without affecting the rights of those exercising the activity in question and, at the same time, to protect the critical public goods of health, order, security and social peace.”
The criminalization of people and any aspect of the sex industry tends to push workers into poverty, increase their vulnerability to violence and discrimination, reduce their power in negotiations with clients, persecute them for working together in shared spaces, and lead to the deportation of undocumented migrant workers.