Today, December 17, sex workers, allies and advocates around the world will be marking the International Day To End Violence Against Sex Workers. Begun ten years ago, this day honours and mourns sex workers who’ve been affected by violence and celebrates those who continue the struggle to end it.
Sex workers are enormously diverse and those most impacted by violence, stigma and inequality are more likely to be those caught in the web of multiple forms of oppression and criminalization. Poor, street-based, drug-using, migrant, Black, Indigenous, people of colour, trans and young sex workers are especially likely to be targeted by police and predators and face the harshest impacts of the criminalization sex work. It is often their names called at December 17 vigils.
This December 17 is especially poignant as it comes just days before the Supreme Court of Canada releases their historic decision on whether to strike down three significant laws regulating sex work that have led to a dramatic increase in mortality among people in the sex industry since they were introduced in 1985.
The decriminalization of sex work would substantially increase protection for workers — and especially for those already living at the margins.
Around the world, sex workers fight back — so we asked a few: what are sex workers in your area and communities doing to end violence and to create sex worker justice?