September 1, 2022
UCLA’s Global Lab for Research in Action, in collaboration with a coalition of advocacy organizations including Decriminalize Sex Work, activists, and researchers, has launched the Red Umbrella Campaign.
The Red Umbrella Campaign will advocate for #SaferSexWork, addressing the stigma that sex workers face through a data driven national social awareness campaign. Research has shown that sex workers have a 45% to 75% chance of experiencing workplace violence. It is not only physical and sexual violence that prevents sex workers from being safe, but lack of access to housing, healthcare, and other basic human rights can contribute to unsafe workig conditions. Everyone deserves to be safe at work, including sex workers.
“Decades of research from around the world shows that the criminalization of sex work is what makes the work fundamentally unsafe - and impacts the safety of the wider community too,” says Janine N’jie David, co-founder and Deputy Director of UCLA’s Global Lab for Research in Action. “Sex work tends to be a taboo subject, despite being one of the oldest professions in the world, and public knowledge is understandably limited. But we shouldn’t allow our lack of understanding — or quite frankly, discomfort — prevent us from tackling challenging issues.”
The Red Umbrella Campaign will amplify voices of individuals with lived experience in sex work in tandem with data collected from researchers across the country to inform the public on the dangers sex workers face due to criminalization on a daily basis, while also addressing stigma. “When I began sex work at age 18, it became apparent to me that the dangers I faced were perpetuated by criminalization and stigma more than the work itself,” says Savannah Sly, a Global Lab Board Member. “Violent predators target sex workers because we work in isolation to avoid arrest and discrimination. The dangers are unnecessary and must be addressed.”
The “Red Umbrella Campaign” will launch in the fall and culminate on International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers on December 17th. We will use data and storytelling as the primary teaching tools. In the meantime, register here to learn more and find out how to get involved!
The UCLA Global Lab for Research in Action, a DSW grantee, pursues evidence-based solutions to critical health, education, and economic issues faced by hard-to-reach populations around the world. The Global Lab’s work extends beyond research as they translate and amplify findings to inform policy, improve programs across the global South and North, and shift the public conversation. Manisha Shah, Ph.D., a development economist, professor of public policy, and one of the leading researchers on sex markets and health, founded and leads The Global Lab, along with Janine N’jai David, M.P.P.