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Sex workers join May Day marchers

This news post is about 6 years old

Workers demand to be treated same as others paid employees

Sex workers from the charities Scot-Pep and the Sex Worker Advocacy and Resistance Movement took part in the annual May Day march in Glasgow for the first time.

Campaigners who took part in yesterday’s rally are calling for the decriminalisation of sex work as well as protection against deportation for migrant sex workers.

This year's gathering marked the 100th anniversary of women being given the right to vote and was led by members of the Glasgow Equal Pay Campaign.

The annual protest and celebration of rights is part of International Workers Day, which takes place on May Day each year.

Sex workers also took the opportunity to highlight violence against those working in the industry.

Harley, a sex worker attending the event, 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."

Sex worker Molly added: "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."

Glasgow Equal Pay campaigners dressed in the style of women workers at Ford's Dagenham plant, who campaigned for equal pay back in 1968.

Jennifer McCarey, chairwoman of Glasgow Trades Council, said that 50 years since the strike at Dagenham Glasgow is currently at the forefront of Scotland's largest equal pay battle.

"Our May Day celebrations will be led by these campaigners," she added.