December 17th is International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. The day was created by the Sex Workers Outreach Project USA (www.swopusa.org) to call attention to hate crimes committed against sex workers. This day has empowered workers around the world to come together and organize against discrimination and remember victims of violence. 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 prohibitionist laws has allowed and fostered this violence and harassment. Please join with sex workers around the world and stand against criminalization and violence committed against them.
Here’s a list of actions you can take (and not just during the week of December 17, but any time of the year) Please try to do at least one!
1. Attend an action or vigil to raise awareness about violence against sex workers. See the SWOP website (http://swopusa.org/dec17/locations.htm) for a list of events around the world.
2. Organize your own event. It could be political, educational, or something to memorialize missing and murdered sex workers.
3. Educate yourself about sex workers and their rights. Check the FIRST website (www.firstadvocates.org) and the websites of our Allies & Resources (www.firstadvocates.org/allies-and-resources)
4. Volunteer for, or make a donation to, a service organization that supports street-based sex workers (such as WISH: www.wish-vancouver.net, or PACE: www.pace-society.ca).
5. Make a donation to a sex worker rights group that advocates for sex workers (such as Maggies: http://maggiestoronto.ca/ or Stella: www.chezstella.org/stella/?q=en).
6. Join a group that supports or advocates for sex workers.
7. Write a letter to the editor, post a website comment, and/or talk to a friend or colleague to:
- Raise public awareness about the rights of sex workers.
- Combat the violence, stigma, and discrimination they face.
- Refute myths and misinformation about sex workers.
8. Write to your government representatives and ask them to stand up for the rights of sex workers.
9. Advocate to unions and labour organizations for the legitimization of sex work as work.
10. Talk to a sex worker with the assumption you will learn something from them.
11. Ask a sex worker how you can support them.
12. Send love to sex workers you know (or don’t know). Write an email, post on their Facebook wall, mail a card, send flowers or candy.
13. Offer support or condolences to the families and friends of sex workers who have been murdered or disappeared.
14. Do something at home that has personal meaning, such as a memorial bath or lighting a candle.
15. Tell others what you’re doing to honour sex workers on Dec 17, and encourage them to do something too.
16. Spread the word about International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, and send this event link to all your networks.
Thank you for supporting sex workers!
(This message is from the FIRST founders and advocates.)
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