Members of the ILGA voted to support for the decriminalisation of sex work at their global conference last week. ILGA (the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association) is a world federation of national and local organisations dedicated to achieving equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people globally. The organisation represents 1,524 organisations in 152 countries.
ILGA members voted to support a resolution to address the stigmatisation of sex workers, including in the LGBTI movement, and oppose all forms of criminalisation and legal oppression of sex workers. Their statement - released jointly with ICRSE and New Zealand Prostitutes' Collective (NZPC) - acknowledges this is "an historic first for ILGA World".
"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."
The world conference was held in Aotearoa/New Zealand, where sex work was decriminalised in 2003. The statement recognises decriminalisation 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".
“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... 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".
The ILGA resolution follows ILGA Europe publishing their support for the decriminalisation of sex work in June 2018. Read the full statement on the resolution here. You can read more about ILGA on their website.