Red Umbrella Fund
The Red Umbrella Fund is a unique collaboration between sex workers and social justice funders. It has been housed at Mama Cash since its inception in 2012. The Red Umbrella Fund is a direct result of years of cooperation between sex workers activists, Mama Cash, the Sexual Health and Rights Project of the Open Society Institute (OSI-SHARP), other international donors and the worldwide network of sex workers, the Network of Sex Work Projects. The fund works to strengthen sex workers’ rights movements by catalysing new funding for their fight for self-determination, health and labour rights.
Women in the sex industry have the same rights as all other women to sexual and economic self-determination, an independent and legally accepted existence and protection against discrimination and violence: this position has always guided Mama Cash’s activities and has led her to support both Dutch and international sex workers’ rights movements.
Nicky McIntyre, Executive Director of Mama Cash since 2008: ‘Creating this fund is a historical step. The Red Umbrella Fund is shifting the relationship between donors and sex workers. It is generating expertise and knowledge in the field of activism and fundraising for both parties involved. It is strengthening the sex workers’ movement on a scale we previoiusly never could have imagined.’
Nothing about us without us
The Red Umbrella Fund aims to raise new resources for sex worker rights movements by funding sex worker-led organisations and their national, regional and global networks. The fund embraces the motto of the international movement of sex workers: ‘Nothing about us without us’ and, therefore, sex workers comprise a majority in the fund’s governing bodies. Ana Luz Mamani Silva of the Asociación de Sexuales Trabajadoras Mujeres del Sur of Peru, and also a member of the International Steering Committee of the Red Umbrella Fund: ‘Why would we only be in the streets at night? Sex workers should be actively involved in the decisions that are made about them by parliaments, non-governmental organisations, and funds. They should participate in the discussions that involve decisions about themselves.’