NEW YORK (WOMENSENEWS)--In Union Square here, three members of the Sex Workers Outreach Project stood poised, in black underwear and with red ribbons binding their wrists and mouths, for 86 minutes.
At the tick of 86 minutes and 59 seconds, they untied the ribbons, erased the red targets drawn on their bodies--signifying targets for violence--and cheered for the U.S. approved-U.N. resolution that could change laws and foreign policies that target sex workers.
"We are hoping that this will be the beginning of a dialogue with the State Department about what the federal government will do to address human rights abuses against sex workers and to our knowledge, it is the first time this has really happened," Sienna Baskin, co-director of the New York-based Sex Workers Project, later told Women's eNews in a phone interview.
The performance art demonstration took place on March 18, eight days after the United States accepted the U.N. Human Rights Council's Recommendation No. 86 to "ensure access to public services paying attention to the special vulnerability of sexual workers to violence and human rights abuses."
The U.S. State Department's affirmative response to the recommendation–one of the 228 put forth by countries during a peer-led review of countries' human rights records every four years--may mark a monumental shift toward protecting sex workers' human rights.