History of the Red Umbrella

The red umbrella was first used as a symbol for sex worker solidarity in 49th Venice Biennale of Art, Italy, 2001.  Italian sex workers marched through the streets of Venice with red umbrellas as part of the “Prostitute Pavilion”and CODE:RED art installation by Slovenian artist Tadej Pogacar.  The red umbrella march drew attention to the bad work conditions and human rights abuses they faced. Four years later the red umbrella was adopted by the International Committee on theRights of Sex Workers in Europe where it became the emblem for resistance to discrimination. Since then the red umbrella has become the international icon for sex worker’s rights around the world. It symbolises protection from the abuse and intolerance faced by sex workers everywhere but it is also a symbol of their strength.