UTSOPI advocates for sex workers’ rights. As an organisation, we represent the community. Our political work and cultural work are a always response to what the community of sex workers needs. We need to know what is going on, what is changing on the field and what the needs of sex workers are in order to make the right political proposals and get the right message out to the media.
Community work is therefore the alpha and omega of our organization. All our actions are driven by the community’s needs. Therefore we e need a large and diverse community of sex workers in order to organise the right actions and decide on the right strategies.
At the same time, community moments allow us to inform sex workers of the latest legislative changes and how to exercise their new rights. Sex workers are also invited to take part in the activities and events UTSOPI organises.
Safer spaces: Listen To You
Every month we organize apero's, exclusively for sex workers, in the cities of Brussels, Antwerp and Ghent, under the name "Listen To You". These safer spaces are an opportunity to get to know each other, learn from each other and talk freely about your work. These moments are as old as our organizations: it was monthly apero's between sex workers that led to the birth of our organization.
Outreach in Brussels North
For some sex workers getting to know other sex worker at group events remains difficult. For some there is shame, for some there is a lack of trust and still others cannot afford free moments, they simply do not have free time.
We see these barriers most often among migrant sex workers, a large group of whom work behind windows. Their opinions are as important to us as those of all other sex workers. Therefore, at least once a week, we organize a tour where UTSOPI staff goes into the window district, to make contacts with the sex workers behind the windows. Their needs too are translated into political demands. For now, these tours are only organized in the Brussels North Quarter.
UTSOPI played a key role in the decriminalization of sex work. We are currently being consulted in the development of a new law that will regulate working conditions in the workplace. In both cases, our organization organized task forces for sex workers, where any sex worker (member or non-member) was welcome to read the legislative texts in group and provide feedback, which we took to the political level.
For any new legislative initiative or political development in the future, a specialized task force will be organized, for any sex worker wishing to play an active part in developments concerning sex work in Belgium.
Workshops and Artistic projects
At different times of the year we organize workshops with a variety of themes. A singing choir was for instance created in this way within UTSOPI. Prior to manifestations, we organize moments to make banners and placards. For sex workers struggling with the digital world, they can join our digital workshops.
We also organize art and writing sessions, making room for poetry, prose and collage art. During a series of workshops we extend an ongoing and imperfect manifesto.