By MELANIE DANTE
In the effort to address stigma and reduce violence we engage with community, families, non profits, advocacy organizations, law enforcement, and punitive powers to advocate for short and long term sex work specific professional and victim services.
M. Dante visiting Crossroads Center and USPros
In its 2015 Universal Periodic Review of Human Rights, the State Department affirmed the 2010 United Nations Recommendation #86, stating, “We agree that no one should face violence or discrimination in access to public services based on sexual orientation or their status as a person in prostitution,” and we call upon the States to do likewise. There are numerous instances of state laws and regulations that still discriminate against our community. (ESPLER Project)
You do not need to be a sex worker to be involved. You just need to care! Community Tool Kit
Fact Sheet Courtesy S W O P U S A It should be noted that the Sex Worker community is largely unrecognized as it’s population. This is an injustice and impacts our ability to gather statistics about both our losses and our resiliency. Sex Workers as a demographic need to be recognized and supported and funded so that data can be accurately reflected. Here are some of the very limited facts based off of statistics we were able to gather:
• 23% of GLBT murder victims on the 2012 Anti-Violence Project report were killed while engaging in sex work.
• The homicide rate for female sex workers is estimated to be 204 per 100,000, according to a longitudinal study published in 2004. This constitutes a higher occupational mortality rate than any other group of women ever studied.
• A study of New York Street-Based Sex Workers reported that 80% of participants had reported experiencing violence, including 27% at the hands of police.
• In a report on violence against sex workers in India, 70% had reported abuse by police, and 80% had been arrested without evidence.
In 2019 globally there were approximately 200 (reported) sex work deaths defined as murders and suicides. At the time of the poster there were 35 U.S. deaths, and over 40 on the day of December 17th memorial.
"Its time to change the social perception that she wasn’t a person, she was a “prostitute”. No one wants to feel a sense of community or sameness with her. She was something other than us and therefore we don’t need to feel fear or grief at the fact or the manner of her death.”- www.december17.org
Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner 2018 Inauguration: "Today we start the long road towards empowering and protecting some of our most vulnerable witnesses and survivors: immigrants that lack legal status so that they like other vulnerable groups - young people, elderly people, sex workers - can participate in the criminal justice system that is there to protect them. Today we trade fear for sanctuary."
A very special thanks to PHILLY dot com Bob Fernandez and Kathy Boccella for their amazing in-depth reporting of D/17 2017:
- Philly vigil set for 31 sex workers slain in the U.S. this year
- Sex workers victimized by violence remembered at Philadelphia vigil
We also sincerely thank Elizabeth Nolan Brown at Reason Magazine for her Hit & Run mention:
- The Best Sex Work Writing of 2017 – Hit & Run: Reason.com: Sex Workers Victimized by Violence Remembered at Philadelphia Vigil” The Inquirer recently covered a vigil commemorating the 2017 International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, in a piece that’s surprisingly sex-work positive for a mainstream paper. “The vigil organizers were encouraged by the attendance of a surrogate for Philadelphia district attorney-elect Larry Krasner, T.J. Ghose, an instructor at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy and Practice,” Inquirer writer Kathy Boccella notes. Ghose said the incoming DA had pledged during his campaign to drastically reduce criminal prosecutions of sex workers as part of his goal to reduce the number of women of color behind bars. “Sex work is a gateway,” said Ghose, who has worked with a 70,000-member union of sex workers in India. “If we’re going to end mass incarceration, prosecuting sex workers has to stop.” http://reason.com/blog/2017/12/31/best-sex-work-writing-of-2017
Absolutely Sister Solidarity Via Black Lives Matter (BLM). Black Trans Sex Workers are most vulnerable in our shared community.
THANK YOU to everyone who braved the storm for the 2016 and 2017 D/17 at Thomas Paine Plaza. Your participation added light and love to the day. THANK YOU – including though not limited – to: The Black Coalition Fighting Back Serial Murders, ELS, Erotic Service Providers Union (ESPU-Philly), The ESPLER Project, Food Not Bombs, Global Women’s Strike, New Jersey Red Umbrella Alliance, Philadelphia Red Umbrella Alliance, Project SAFE, SWOP Behind Bars, SWOP USA, US Pros Collective and our amazingly supportive, awesome local community allies. Respect. Love.