In the spirit of remembrance and healing, the Sex Workers Outreach Project joins 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.
On December 17th, We also renew our commitment to solidarity. The majority of violence against sex workers is not just violence against sex works—it’s also violence against transwomen, against women of color, against drug users, against immigrants. We cannot end the marginalization and victimization of all sex workers without also fighting transphobia, racism, stigma and criminalization of drug use, and xenophobia.
Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers was first recognized in 2003 as a memorial and vigil for the victims of the Green River Killer in Seattle Washington. Since 2003, Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers has empowered people 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 communities and social justice organizations stage actions and vigils and work to raise awareness about violence that is commonly committed against sex workers. The assault, battery, rape and murder of sex workers must end. Racism and economic inequality and systems of colonialist, capitalist violence and oppression must end. The stigma and discrimination and criminalization that makes violence against us acceptable must end. 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.