International Whore’s Day, also known as International Sex Workers Day, is celebrated on June 2 of each year to honor Sex Workers.
It is also a day for us to bring awareness to the public of how often our working conditions are exploited.
The event commemorates the occupation of Église Saint-Nizier in Lyon, France by more than a hundred Sex Workers on June 2nd, 1975 to draw attention to their inhumane working conditions.
In the 1970s, French police kept Sex Workers under increasing pressure.
The police reprisals forced Sex Workers to work increasingly in secret. As a result, protection of Sex Workers decreased and led to more violence against them.
After two murders and the unwillingness of the government to improve the situation, Sex Workers in Lyon occupied the Saint-Nizier church in rue de Brest and went on strike.
The striking Sex Workers sang political chants, and protest songs, that were penned by the Sex Workers who occupied French churches during the eight-day strike in 1975, “When we occupy the churches, you are scandalized, religious bigots! You who threatened us with hell, we have come to eat at your table, at Saint Nizier.”.
Their demand was for decent working conditions and an end to stigma.
The police cleared the church after eight days.
The event marked the starting point of an International Movement of Sex Workers for Sex Workers rights and has been an annual, global event since 1976.
In German, it is known as Hurentag (Whore’s Day).
In Spanish-speaking countries, it is the Día Internacional de la Trabajadora Sexual, the International Day of the Sex Worker. (The Spanish word “trabajadora” is feminine, recognizing that most sex workers are women.)