In the spirit of remembrance and healing, the Sex Workers Outreach Project invites sex workers, allies and advocates from around the world to join us in recognizing December 17, the International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers.
Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers was first recognized in 2003 as a memorial and vigil for the victims of the Green River Killer in Seattle Washington. Since 2003, Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers has empowered people from cities around the world to come together and organize against discrimination and remember victims of violence.
This year, over 41 sex workers were murdered in the United States and over 120 sex workers were murdered around the world. We invite you to join in raising awareness about violence against sex workers. There are many ways to do this. You can:
*Organize an Event or Activity around Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers- We’ve included some ideas about ways to do this below. (And make sure to let us know about it so we can help publicize)
*Raise Awareness via Social media – we have created a variety of resources, from posters to fact sheets to infographics, folks can use on this day. Click here to access our December 17th Resource Folder.
*Print and share fact sheets & posters – we have created a variety of posters and fact sheets on violence against sex workers. Click here to access them.
*Attend an Event – Information on local events will listed on the December 17th Website beginning December 1st.
Organizing Your Own Event
There are many different types of events, and each one can be as unique as you are! In general we want to do 3 things by having events around Dec. 17th.
You can organize a march, protest, sit-in or some other non-violent method of raising awareness. Simply doing some sort of public art piece around violence against sex workers on raising the public consciousness around sex work and the violence that they receive.
Honor the lives of sex workers on this day, either by yourself or as an event.
Organize a public memorial event in your town. Invite people to bring writings, stories, readings, thoughts, related news items, poems, performances, etc. Make a circle at the event. Take turns sharing. This will make for a wonderful memorial and be great for consciousness raising and outreach as well.
Ten 12/17 Event Ideas
1. Organize an event for sex workers only. Organize a special lunch, dinner or activity for women in street-based economies who use your agency. Get warm food and hot chocolate, and have an activity inspired by 12/17.
Some ideas might be…
* An art project
* A self-care and self-advocacy workshop.
* A group discussion on issues impacting the community and ways to fight back; on internal power and
* A writing workshop
2. Honor victims in creative ways. Make paper cranes for each person on the list. Write names on red streamers.Attach names to red helium balloons, and release each name when the name is read. Attach names to forget-me-notpackages, or candy canes. This can be a fun volunteer activity, and also serve to educate volunteers about violence against sex workers.
3. Create participatory opportunities for attendees. Have an open mic. Have a collage table where attendees can make a memorial for a friend or acquaintance, or to symbolize personal victimization and resilience. Have a “photo-booth” or a “video-booth” where attendees can privately share their thoughts & ideas. Create a post-it wall.
4. Take advantage of holiday crowds. Attach a brief description of Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers to candy canes or bags of chocolate gelt. Hand them out at a Weinachtsmarkt/Christmas Market, or from the corner of a busy street.
5. Have attendees be part of the décor – ask attendees to wear red. Invite attendees to paint a message on a tee-shirts
6. Create ‘shrines’ for victims from your community specifically, or with consent from the victim’s family or friends. Do this by buying a trifold, decorating it with photos and texts, and leaving post-it notes for attendees to write messages, and/or candles for attendees to light.
7. Use public space – organize a memorial in a park, a speak-out outside of police headquarters or a court-building, or start a march from where a victim was murdered.
8. Hold a press conference or speak-out on the week of 12/17 to announce a program that addresses violence against sex workers, launch a campaign or new service, or publicly announce a list of demands to end violence against sex workers in your area.
9. Organize an informal art show. Host it at a coffee shop, a Some ideas include
*Photographs of places where sex workers experienced violence in your area.
*Art from an empowerment-based support group.
*Art by local sex workers.
10. Use 12/17 as an opportunity to raise funds while raising awareness – Make salt-dough umbrella ornaments, and organize a red-umbrella decorating competition with a 5-10 entry fee. Sell red umbrella ornaments, December 17 stickers, or other merchandise at an event. Organize a fundraising drive near a local grocery store, and give candy canes with information about 12/17 or 12/17 related topics.
For more ideas, see our December 17th Toolkit.