March in Washington Video!

One of our allies, at bureaucrash.com made a video from todays march in Washington. It’s quick, but fun! Great for those of us that were not able to make it to the event.

Int’l Day to End Violence, San Francisco: Hall of Justice, 5pm vigil, procession + memorial

Sex Workers Urge SF DA Kamala Harris to Help Stop Violence

On Wednesday December 17, 2008, sex workers will gather at the Hall of Justice in San Francisco to demand an end to violence and exploitation. This vigil marks the 6th Annual International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, honoring sex workers who’ve been murdered or assaulted. Sex workers urge San Francisco’s public officials, including District Attorney Kamala Harris, to enact policy changes that would prevent violence.

Harris has identified herself as concerned with the health, safety, and rights of those working in the sex industry. However, her support for the ongoing criminalization of sex workers based on their employment status does nothing to end the violence that she says she stands against. Sex workers demand she also end the exploitation and violence they face at the hands of those she claims will protect them — San Francisco law enforcement.

“Our research shows that arresting sex workers makes them more likely to experience violence and test positive for HIV & STIs,” said Naomi Akers, MPH, Executive Director of St. James Infirmary, a community health clinic for sex workers. “When sex work is criminalized, many are afraid to report crimes committed against them. When they do report violence, they seldom receive justice.”

Sex workers systematically face violence and sexual assault from law enforcement. According to a recent UCSF study, 1 out of 7 sex workers in San Francisco have been threatened with arrest by police officers unless they have sex with them, and 1 out of 5 sex workers in San Francisco report that police officers have paid them for sex. In addition, the Police Department and the district attorney use condoms that sex workers carry in order to stay safe as evidence against them.

“For most sex workers, their criminal status keeps them from working in safer conditions and seeking out assistance from law enforcement if assaulted or robbed,” said Tara Sawyer, Board Chair of the Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP-USA), a national peer-led network of sex workers who initiated this day in 2003 when Gary Leon Ridgway aka the Green River Killer was convicted for murdering 48 prostitutes over a 21-year period near Seattle, WA. Said Sawyer, “Sex workers are the experts at identifying harm in the sex industry and developing solutions.”

Interviews are available with sex workers attending the vigil in San Francisco as well as nationwide by using the contact info above. Media and the public are welcome at the SF vigil: Continue reading

Int’l Day to End Violence, New York City: 7-8pm, Vigil

Sex Workers Outreach Project, Sex Work Awareness, $pread Magazine, and Sex Workers Action New York are co-sponsoring a vigil tonight in New York City from 7 to 8 pm in Washington Square Park:

March in Washington

Over 100 people are marching the streets of washington, DC right now!

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Thanks to @furrygirl for the picture, and more live pictures can be found here.

There are many more events happening all around the world today, for December 17th, International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers.