In the spirit of remembrance and healing, the Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP-USA) and SWOP chapters join sex workers, allies and advocates from around the world in recognizing December 17, the International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers. As we approach this day, we seek to come together to remember those who we have lost this year, and renew our commitment in the on-going struggle for empowerment, visibility, and rights for all sex workers.
December 17th, International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, was created to call attention to crimes committed against sex workers all over the globe. Originally conceptualized by Annie Sprinkle and initiated by the Sex Workers Outreach Project USA as a memorial and vigil for the victims of the Green River Killer in Seattle Washington, the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers has empowered workers from cities around the world to come together and organize against discrimination and remember victims of violence.
During the week of December 17th, sex worker rights organizations and their allies stage actions and vigils to raise awareness about violence that is commonly committed against sex workers. The assault, battery, rape and murder of sex workers must end. Existing laws prevent sex workers from reporting violence. The stigma and discrimination that is perpetuated by the prohibitionist laws has made violence against us acceptable. Please join with sex workers around the world and stand against criminalization and violence committed against our communities.
A public letter from Annie Sprinkle and your invitation to join us
Annie Sprinkle has provided us with her thoughts about the origins of December 17 including ten ways to participate in the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. When Gary Ridgeway, the “Green River Killer,” was finally caught after murdering scores of sex workers Annie, “felt a need to memorialize my whore sisters that had died so horribly and needlessly.” She joined with Robyn Few, Stacey Swimme and Michael Foley (all members of the Sex Workers Outreach Project) to claim December 17 as the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. Annie shares that, “to date hundreds of people around the world have done dozens of memorials, actions, and events of all kinds, and the participation is growing. Wonâ€™t you join us?” Read Annie’s full letter and invitation to join us in honoring December 17.
Videos from December 17 Events
See a short video from 2006 made by SWOP-LA. Organizations in England have made a series of videos to announce 2011 events in London. View one video here, another about connections between LGBT communities and sex workers’ rights here, a statement from a woman from Spain, a video focusing on the impact of laws and stigma, and a statement from a trans sex worker representative.
We are currently gathering a list of individuals to commemorate on December 17th in 2013. If there are individuals who you would like to include, we would be honored to remember them in numerous vigils and events across the globe. A list of names past years can be found here .
Want to participate in December 17 activities? We will begin posting 2013 event locations in mid-November. Event Details from prior years can be found here.
Sex Workers Outreach Project-USA is a national social justice network dedicated to the fundamental human rights of sex workers and their communities, focusing on ending violence and stigma through education and advocacy.