December 17th is the International Day To End Violence Against Sex Workers.
The day calls attention to hate crimes committed against sex workers, and the need to remove the social stigma and discrimination that have contributed to violence against sex workers.
The day was first celebrated by American sex workers’ rights campaigner Dr. Annie Sprinkle in 2003. In a letter, she states:
Violent crimes against sex workers go underreported, unaddressed and unpunished. There really are people who don’t care when prostitutes are victims of hate crimes, beaten, raped, and murdered. No matter what you think about sex workers and the politics surrounding them, sex workers are a part of our neighborhoods, communities and families.
The red umbrella symbol was first used by sex workers in Venice in 2001.
The topic of sex workers’ safety is one that has been covered in the web pages of The Social Eyes and Reflet de Société several times. Just use the search engine, or find “prostitution” in the “family” menu on your screen, to look up some of the articles we’ve published over the years, many of which come from the point of view of sex workers themselves, as well as social workers, academics and members of the general public.
In Montréal, the group Les ami(es) de Stella will hold a vigil to honor sex workers on Friday, December 17th at 5:30 p.m. The vigil will be held at the Parc de la Paix, on Saint-Laurent Boulevard just north of René-Lévesque. According to their website:
On December 17th, sex workers and our allies across the globe mark the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. This day draws attention to acts of violence that continue to be committed against sex workers worldwide, and to the stigma and discrimination perpetuated by prohibitionist laws against sex work, which endanger our lives and work. We honour this December 17th in solidarity with sex workers across the world to highlight the continued police repression, profiling, the violence of arrest, the gentrification of our neighbourhoods that push us into isolation, and the desperate need to end criminalization of sex workers, clients and the people we work with.