Sex workers outside Parliament to demand safety on International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers
On 17th December, International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers (#IDEVASW), thousands of sex workers and sex worker-led organisations around the world will gather to commemorate the sex workers who have lost their lives in the last year.
Last year, the list included more than 150 sex workers murdered between 1st January and 1st December 2016.
IDEVASW began in 2003 to remember the sex workers who were murdered by Seattle's Green River Killer in the US. This year, the English Collective of Prostitutes (ECP) and Sex Worker Advocacy and Resistance Movement (SWARM) will create a memorial
outside the Houses of Parliament. We will be calling on MPs to join us and hear our demand for an end to criminalisation, stigma and poverty which makes us vulnerable to all kinds of violence and exploitation.
2017's event will take place over two days:
Sunday 17th December: ECP and SWARM will be holding a sex worker-only vigil. Details to follow.
Monday 18th December: during this public event 203 from 12-2pm 203 we will be building a memorial in New Palace Yard, outside the Houses of Parliament with a roll call of those killed since 2016.
Monday 18th December also marks the closing date for the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) inquiry into pop-up brothels. ECP and SWARM invite MPs, and, in particular, APPG members -- Fiona Bruce MP, Sarah Champion MP, Thangam Debbonaire MP,
Lord McColl of Dulwich, Jess Philips MP and chair Gavin Shuker MP -- to join us and speak to sex workers. Despite calls for decriminalisation from sex workers around the globe, the APPG is currently proposing that the UK increases criminalisation
of the industry.
Violence against sex workers is at epidemic proportions. A 2014 study found 77% of street based sex workers and 17% of inside workers had suffered violence attacks.[i] Evidence, including from Amnesty International shows that the prostitution laws
make sex workers less safe and provide impunity for abusers with sex workers often too scared of being penalized to report crime to the police. Evidence[ii] that austerity cuts have increased prostitution must also be heeded. We call on the
government to implement the Home Affairs Committee recommendations to:
. . . change existing legislation so that soliciting is no longer an offence and so that brothel-keeping provisions allow sex workers to share premises and that legislation should be drafted to provide for the deletion of previous convictions and
cautions for prostitution from the record of sex workers.
All are welcome to join us on 18th December at New Palace Yard. Feel free to bring names or messages for the memorial. Please email your MP and invite them to this event.