It’s time to change the social perception that sex workers aren’t people who deserve to live and work with dignity and in safe conditions. Criminalization and stigma have created the perfect playground for bad cops and predators to continue to rob, rape and murder sex workers with impunity.
On Saturday local supporters of sex workers rights in Providence will join more than 20 other cities in the United States and 40 cities internationally to recognize the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. This community comes together annually, to remember those sex workers lost to violence this year and to renew their commitment to the on-going struggle for empowerment, visibility, and rights for all sex workers.
We’re holding this vigil to show that sex workers deserve to not only live and work with dignity and in safe conditions but that we also need equal protection under the law.
A memorial list including the names of sex workers who died as a result of violence is often read at local memorial vigils. The list of over 132 sex workers murdered between January 1 and December 1, 2016 internationally, highlights the vulnerability of sex workers around the world. According to sex workers rights group Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP) USA, the majority of violence against sex workers is not just violence against sex workers—it’s also violence against transwomen, against women of color, against drug users and immigrants.
The event was developed in 2003 following the conviction of Gary Ridgway, a serial killer who admitted to targeting sex workers over multiple years due to the stigma against their profession. In fact, he was well-known by the sex worker community but those who could have identified him were afraid to come forward because they feared they might be arrested.
The vigil is to be held:
Saturday, December 17, 2016, 1:00pm-3:00pm
PrYSM, 669 Elmwood Ave, Suite B7
Providence, RI 02907