Copy and past this template press release into emails to local news outlets.
Be sure to type in the information for YOUR event into this email.
[ADD YOUR INFORMATION HERE]
Sex Workers Outreach Project, USA
Briq House, Communications Director
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
[City] — On December 17th, [YOUR CITY] will join more than 20 other cities in the United States and 40 cities internationally to recognize the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. This year, local organizers are planning [THIS TYPE OF EVENT EXAMPLE: march, vigil, lecture, dance party, bike ride, whatever] to raise awareness about the violence faced by sex workers. [REPLACE WITH CITY EVENT INFORMATION DETAILS – The march will begin at 5:30 at the north Entrance of Harold Washington Library and proceed north along State street. The vigil will begin at 7:00 pm at Jane Addams Hull House, 800 S. Halsted.]
Known as December 17th, the event was first organized by the Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP-USA) in 2003 to respond to the sentencing of Gary Ridgway. Also known as the “Green River Killer,” Ridgway confessed to murdering over 70 women over two decades. Most of Ridgway’s victims were sex workers, and their murders initially went largely uninvestigated, allowing Ridgway’s violence to continue. Over two decades, Ridgway murdered over 70 women, most of whom were sex workers. Ridgway mentioned he targeted the community “because I thought I could kill as many as I wanted without getting caught.”
A memorial list including the names of sex workers who died as a result of violence is often read at local memorial vigils. The list, compiled by SWOP-USA, highlights the diverse forms of violence that sex workers experience. Sex Worker victims in 2015 included 9 women who were raped and murdered in San Jose, Costa Rica, 10 women murdered and mutilated in a single month in Nakuru, Kenya, a transgender woman in Cuba who was stoned to death by a group of boys, and a migrant living in Seattle who was repeatedly stabbed during a robbery and had her apartment later set on fire.
According to SWOP-USA, over 100 sex workers were murdered globally in 2014. The largest number of homicides–41–occurred in the United States. 12 of 41 sex workers murdered in the United States were trans women (29% of sex worker homicides), and 11 were trans women of color. Female sex workers in the United States are murdered at 17.7 times the national murder rate of cis women, (Source) and transgender sex workers are more likely to experience violence than cisgender sex workers. (Source).
Information about [YOUR CITY’S EVENT] December 17th events can be found at [YOURS WEBSITE OR THE DEC 17TH SITE]. More information about December 17th and worldwide events can be found at www.december17.org.