11/14/2018 – For Immediate Release International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers
The Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP) USA
Contact: Christa Daring
(877) 776-2004 Extension #1001
December 17th is International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. This day has been observed since 2003 marking the conviction of Gary Ridgway, The Green River Killer, who was convicted of 48 murders of sex workers, confessed to over 70 and is suspected of more than 100. Violence against sex workers is pervasive across the globe, and trans and sex workers of color are specifically vulnerable due to intersections of violence.
As of this release we have 17 affiliated events spread throughout the United States to mark this significant date. These events span from vigils and rallies – to art installations and various celebrations of life. More information on specific events can be found here: http://www.december17.org/2018-event-locations/
As an organization we attempt to track and document all of the sex workers who die in a calendar year, as of this release we have recorded 45 sex workers to be recognized this year on December 17th, 32 who passed in 2018. We believe this number will greatly increase as we get closer to the day of recognition. Our global list contains over 104 names of sex workers who have passed.
Criminalization of sex work in the United States is a large contributing factor to the violence that sex workers face. SWOP-USA calls for the full decriminalization of sex work and the dismantling of systems of policing that prey on the most vulnerable members of our communities. Trans sex workers of color make up a disproportionate number of those that we lost this year, sex worker stigma and transphobia go hand-in-hand and we must defeat both.
Sex workers rights are human rights, and sex work is work. This December 17th we renew our commitment to our fight for safety, dignity, and respect. As we gather together we will honor and uplift the names of so many of our dead and also hold space for those facing daily non-fatal violence.
Questions about regional December 17th events and requests for further comment can be directed to SWOP-USA