International day to end violence against sex workers

Since 2003, the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers is commemorated annually on December 17. It was born initially in memory of the sex workers which were murdered by the Green River Killer, Gary  Ridgway.

During this day, a lot of organisations organise events in order to make know the horrible crimes that the Green River Killer carried out around the world. And in order to emphasise how important is to delete the stigmatisation which suffer sex workers. Because this only contribute to carry on the violence for them.

The Green River Killer

“The Green River Killer”, Gary Ridgway, hated and looked down on women and more specifically, sex workers. He was arrested in November of 2001 and judged of 48 murders in November of 2003. Ridgway confessed a total of 71 victims. Most of them were sex workers which not even were initially attributed to him. This number could be 90. The 18th of December in 2003, he was spared the death penalty and received a sentence of life imprisonment without parole.

According to Ridgeway, he used to choose the sex workers as his victims because he hated them the most. He believed he could kill as many as they wanted without being arrested due to a few of them could even be reported as wanted.

For years, a lot of the acquaintances of the “Green River Killer” victims knew his real identity. But they didn’t report him because of the fear of being arrested. Or even believe that the police wouldn’t take them into account.

¿Why the 17th of December?

In 2003, the actress and activist Annie Sprinkle proclaimed the 17th of December as the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. She defends the sex workers rights with Robyn Few, the Sex Worker Outreach Project (SWOP USA). 

sex workers work_is_work

Piece of the Sprinkle’s letter

“Violent crimes against sex workers go underreported, unaddressed and unpunished. There 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”.

Those sex workers are commemorated today

Those ones which have passed away fighting for their rights or have suffered some kind of discrimination or violence against them and their rights. Because of this, we believe it is so important to recognise the great labor these organisations such as Redtrasex in Latin America; Scarlet Alliance, SWOP NSW, SIN, Respect Inc., Vixen Collective, SWEAR, or Debby Doesn’t do it for free in Australia; SWARM, ECP, IUSW, SCOT-PEP, o National Ugly Mugs in United Kingdom and NSWP in the whole world make to inform and defend the sex workers rights.

sex workers human_rights

We are aware that nowadays there are many people which still confuse the words “prostitution” and “sexual slavery”. That’s why we think that spread and interact with these collectives is the best way to let people know about the profession. And also drive away the possible doubts definitely. That could be a good way of destigmatize the job to those don’t know about it. Just in order they could have another point of view.   

Through the social network it is possible to know more events programmed for today. And also for the rest of the year. If you are a sex worker, we recommend you to follow them on the social networks. That’s the best way to keep in touch with the actuality of your job.

In the websites of Redtrasex and NSWP are most of these associations so you can know if there are some of them close to you and know more about their events.

The Red Umbrella

The red umbrella represents a symbol for sex workers rights. That’s why it is used in the events which take place on 17th of December.

The red umbrella symbol was first used by sex workers in Venice, Italy in 2001. Slovenian artist Tadej Pogacar collaborated with sex workers to create the “Prostitute Pavilion” and CODE: RED art installation for the 49th Venice Biennale of Art. Sex workers also held a street demonstration, the Red Umbrellas March, to protest inhumane work conditions and human rights abuses.

sex workers red_umbrella

The red is a colour which symbolises the beauty. The umbrella represents, on the one hand the resistance against attack from the sky and people. And on the other hand, the protection against abuse and the decriminalisation they face and their strength.

Activists sexworkers and their defenders around the world assumed the red umbrella since 2003. What began as a simple idea turned quickly into a global emblem for their rights.

The International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe (ICRSE) adopted the red umbrella as a symbol of resistance to discrimination in 2005. A corresponding march was organised as the closing event to the European Conference on Sex Work, Human Rights, Labour and Migration conference, held in Brussels, Belgium, at which almost 200 participants appeared.

The end of violence against sex workers

For all these reasons, following up this tradition, and in memoriam of those who dared to resist all kind of oppression; facts and for an ethical prostitution, from we add to the commemoration of this day.

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