This event was created to call attention to hate crimes committed against sex workers all over the globe. Dr. Annie Sprinkle and the Sex Workers Outreach Project USA began this event 10 years ago as a memorial and vigil for the victims of the Green River Killer in Seattle Washington. It is now an internationally recognized event to raise awareness towards hate crimes committed against sex workers. It also works to remove stigma, discrimination and to reform laws against sex work, in the hopes of diminishing violence towards sex workers. A red umbrella is the symbol for the event. After using it for an anti-violence march in 2002, the red umbrella now symbolizes resistance against discrimination of sex workers around the world. The Sex Worker Outreach Project ( compiles a list every year of sex workers who have lost their lives. These names are then read and recognized at vigils and altars created around the world. If you lost someone this year and would like to have them honored, please send an email to: International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers has empowered workers from cities around the world to come together and organize against discrimination and remember victims of violence. During the week of December 17th, sex worker rights organizations will be staging actions and vigils to raise awareness about violence that is commonly committed against sex workers. The assault, battery, rape and murder of sex workers must end. Currently, if someone is violent or perpetrates a criminal act towards a sex worker, there is little legal recourse. The sex worker is intimidated to go to the police and report a crime, without being arrested for involvement in a criminal act themselves. If a sex worker is raped, injured or killed by a client, they are blamed because of their line of work. Prostitutes are easy targets for violent offenders, being attacked and murdered. This is because of being forced into the streets, being underground and not having the safety of basic laws protecting them and their human rights. Even criminal acts such as theft, rape or fraud go unreported. Knowing the unlikelihood of legal backlash, criminals look for sex workers. The cycle of violence and crime continues. Existing laws prevent sex workers from reporting violence. The stigma and discrimination that is perpetuated by the prohibitionist laws have made violence against sex workers acceptable. Please join with sex workers around the world and stand against criminalization and violence committed against prostitutes. Incriminating sex workers, arresting and jailing them for engaging in a consensual sex act should not be an arrestable offense that destroys lives, and perpetuates marginalization. Whore Holy High Holiday I identify as a sex worker. When I lived in San Francisco, I participated in the vigils and other events culminating on December 17th. I have worked as a Phone Sex Operator, written erotica for money, and I perform burlesque which could be deemed an illegal public display of sexuality in Ohio (see The Ohio Revised Code Chapter 2907). Please support sex workers as an ally to decriminalize and legislate for less restrictive codes towards expressions of human sexuality. To learn more about world-wide efforts that promote empowerment, visibility and human rights for sex workers, please visit: December 17th: (and their list of sponsors) Sex Worker Outreach Project: If you have a question or a topic you would like to have covered in this column, please go to: and click on the link for the Google form. Or, call (614) 636-0936 and leave a message in my Google Voice Mail Box. Both options are 100% anonymous. Thank you.

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