Fifth Annual International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers

December 17th, 2007

December 17th is International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. This event was created to call attention to hate crimes committed against sex workers all over the globe.

Originally thought of by Dr. Annie Sprinkle and started by the Sex Workers Outreach Project USA in 2003 as a memorial and vigil for the victims of the Green River Killer in Seattle Washington. International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers has empowered workers from over 30 cities around the world to come together and organize against discrimination and remember victims of violence.

During the week of December 17, 2007, sex worker rights organizations will be staging 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 in drawing attention to this around the world with the 5th annual International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers.

We would like to add your event to our new DEC 17th website please check out our work in progress and please send pictures.

If you or your organization are holding an event please email your info to: dec17@swopusa.org

If your organization would like to help sponsor an event in your local area please send your contact info to: dec17@swopusa.org

Please go to the website for Dr. Annie Sprinkle’s ’10 Things You Can Do for International Day to end Violence Against Sex Workers.

We encourage participants to carry red umbrellas on Dec 17th as a symbol of international solidarity for sex workers’ rights!

***Please post widely***

15 Responses

  1. […] Check it out! While looking through the blogosphere we stumbled on an interesting post today.Here’s a quick excerptFifth Annual International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers Posted on November 19, 2007 by staceyswimme  December 17th, 2007 December 17th is International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. This event was created to call attention to hate crimes committed against sex workers all over the globe.  Originally thought of by Dr. Annie Sprinkle and started by the Sex Workers Outreach Project USA in 2003 as a memorial and vigil for the victims of the Green River Killer in Seattle W […]

  2. Here is an opportunity for anti activists that are committed to ending violence against sex workers to put aside political differences and put stopping violence and creating awareness of violence against sex workers ahead of politics and join us in a day to fight for an end to violence against sex workers. Something we can all agree on.

    I can think of one that will probably be willing to work with us on this. Any others?

  3. yep, you guessed it Jill — The Gretchen is here and i may be able to do a little something ,especiallcuzz i don’t live to far away. we will takl later in prvate.

  4. Guys, the message box at this link does not work!!! PLEASE put an email where people can email you their events!!!!
    http://www.swop-usa.org/drupal/contact

  5. Found an email- can someone add it to the original post here? Thanks!

    dec17@swopusa.org

  6. 12/13/07
    The demonstration outside of University of San Francisco went well. We handed out flyers asking students and faculty to ask department heads to host a forum with real sex workers, immigrant organizations and law enforcement to talk about what forced labor actually looks like in the sex industry. We wore our demonstration attire; bandanas, sunglasses and hats. We happened upon 2 students who were involved in the actual filming of Asian massage parlor workers with hidden cameras and explained to them how filming workers without their permission violates their human and civil rights instead of bringing them rights. One fellow apologized. I told the other, a young woman, that we wished to work with their organization http://www.notforsalecampaign.org/ to help them understand these important differences and I stated that they ought not film workers with without their expressed permission. I stated the we want the University host a forum on what forced labor looks like in the sex industry. She asked if we were intending to bring ‘these workers’ and I stated that since the TVPRA classified all commercial sex as forced labor, that we, as the actual workers, would be there.
    One philosophy professor stated that filming people without their permission maybe a privacy violation, but didn’t constitute violence. I response by saying that any privacy violation of a group of workers who don’t have access to recourse for any transgression committed against us because of our criminalized status, constitutes violence. He said he would fax our request around to the department heads to see if he could get some support for the forum. The campus police came too and it was a pleasure to explain to the man of Asian descent, how the University never returned any of my phone calls in regards to these matters and I’d been calling since last spring. He understood and I felt supported by him.

    This redress to the university students about their conduct to film Asian massage parlor workers with hidden cameras was an important act in light of International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers 2007.

    http://video.nbc11.com/player/?id=184134
    NBC News aired a 15-minute feature on an
    operation to investigate and map the commercial people trade in San
    Francisco by USF professor and students.

  7. Great job Maxine! Keep us posted on what’s going on with your idea. You’ve made great progess with the university.

    XX

  8. Do any of these events plan to put forward ways of getting johns and pimps to stop being violent? If you have some good ideas in that direction (decriminalization aside) please let us know. I could show up with a bunch of former sex workers if that is the case.

    It is pimps and johns who are committing the violence. We have to name names including the massage parlor owners and the strip club managers. This is a chance to show them for what they are.

    Pleas don’t tell me that decriminalization will protect sex workers. Prostitution is essentially decriminalized in Las Vegas and I can tell you horror stories about the escort and private party life.

    johns and pimps who are violent should be called out immediately and put on multiple watchlists with pictures. We should call their house and work. We only have to do this to a few before the word spreads that if you are violent with a sex worker there will be retaliation.

    Let’s use our collective power to make a real difference.

  9. The time is too short to do now, but perhaps we could plan next year to do outreach with domestic violence shelters. They often work with abusive men and may have ideas on violence-education for abusive clients and pimps. Just an off-the-cuff thought.

    Decriminalization would go a long way to protecting sex workers under the law. Right now, sex workers rarely report any violence since they’ll end up being arrested, not the perpetrators. Changing the laws is the first step to protection. It’s not a perfect solution since non-sex worker women are protected under the law and are abused every day, but at least they have legal options and can more easily bring their abuser to justice.

    Las Vegas is not a decriminalized zone. Not “essentially”, not in any way. Just because there are a lot of escort agency advertisements and street workers in the open does not mean sex work is tolerated, decriminalized or that sex workers can go to the police when they have problems. Which is why Vegas sex workers still suffer the same effects as criminalized sex workers everywhere. They have no protections because they don’t exist.

    XX

  10. I was just reading Annie Sprinlke’s comments on the eve of International Day To End Violence Against Sex Workers. As I am still emotional, I will repost what I already sort of posted on SWOP-East.
    On the eve of the International Day To End Violence Against Sex Workers, I would like to take a few momments to acknoledge how we live. How we love, protect and look after one another. How we will never duplicate, erase or replace the women with whom we have shared the most intimate parts of ourselves and that never again will I love as much, care as much, laugh as much, be naked as much and yes, I admit, gossip as much with any other women on the face of this planet ever again as I did those 20 plus years I was fortunate enough to work with you, my Sisters in the Sex Industry.
    Peace, Solidarity, Understanding and Justice for all of you tomorrow and for forever,
    Lisa Roellig

  11. P.S. I wish I could take back every time I got mad at all the petty things (like using all my lube and make up)and that I wish I knew at the time we would never see each other again. I wish most of all that we could all be together tomorrow and want to promise you that I will always be thinking about you and of course couldn’t possibly ever forget you.
    Lisa

  12. In response to mistressofmeyham, under a criminalized system of prostitution, it is not only clients and pimps who commit the abuse. In some cases, the law enforcement officials who enforce anti-prostitution laws are the perpetrators of abuse.
    Also, prostitution is far from decriminalized in Las Vegas. The Las Vegas vice unit sets up sting operations to deceive and arrest workers in prostitution. There are people who have been arrested or fined for working as prostitutes in Las Vegas. Also, do you ever watch the show “Cops?” There was at least one or two episodes in which they showed Las Vegas police cracking down on prostitutes.

  13. Almost all Vegas arrests are for street walkers. Cops and casinos and the mayor and the johns are all perfectly happy with escort and strip club prostitution. To say escort prostitution is a low priority for the cops is an understatement. You can work for years in Vegas and never get busted as long as you stay off the streets. Vegas is real slow right now though. Maybe too much competition or to few tricks. Lots of girls are leaving.

    If you want to talk about violence against prostitutes many there are a bunch of girls who disappeared late at night into the desert out there. It’s called goin out on BD – bitch disposal. It’s where pimps and traffickers get rid of troublemakers and uppity bitches.

    Prostitution will never be safe. Never. It’s irresponsible to convince women that one day prostitution will be safe. It’s a lie.

  14. Being a woman isn’t safe in this society, let alone a sex worker. But creating legal protections is a better answer than having none.

    One of the many attitudes I see in discussions about sex work online is that it’s illegal so sex workers get what they deserve. Obviously, creating legal change will change a lot of minds. It’s true with stripping and porn, why not prostitution? Why are you so against change? The current system is not working. Change, try a new direction and see what works.

    It’s not like decriminalizing will make things any worse than they already are.

    Since you have offered no workable solutions or given any reason why criminalizing sex work is a better alternative than giving basic human/civil rights to sex workers, I think my part in this is over.

    XX

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