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We are no slaves or objects. We are people, we breathe, we think and we have feelings

July 1, Budapest - SZEXE, a Hungarian organization that stands to unite and protect interests of sex workers in Hungary, hosted conference “Nothing about Us without Us!”. The aim of the conference was provide safe space for Hungarian sex workers to tell their view and opinion on current situation with sex work in Hungary and the recent move of European Parliament to criminalize clients of sex workers. Besides journalists, politicians, civil society organizations and academia, among the invited were supporters of a campaign Europe without Prostitution and anti-trafficking organizations.

The event opened with a photo exhibition that featured sex workers’ portraits and their short stories of what inspires them in life and what gives them strength and makes them happy. Further, the audience was invited to a sex workers’ panel discussion on the realities of life and work as a sex worker in Hungary and how police targeted arrests result in accumulating fines that lead to jail if now paid out completely. Five sex workers of different ages, years of experience in sex work and different types of sex work answered to questions from audience and gave interviews to local media (e.g. in Index http://index.hu/belfold/2014/07/02/hozzank_nem_bensoseges_szexert_jonnek/).

Second part of the conference hosted a mixed panel of civil organizations that stand for and against sex work. With good moderation, all the participants had a chance to express their points of view on the issues around sex work and answer questions from the audience. The fact that sex workers were able to talk about their own lives and experiences and to directly comment or react to the statement against prostitution was the best positive gain of the conference.

To learn more about SZEXE, their projects and next steps, please visit their website http://szexmunka.hu/.

To view photo exhibition and read sex workers’ stories go to http://semmitrolunknelkulunk.org/

 Author: SWAN Secretariat