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 event. After using it for an anti-violence march in 2002, the red umbrella now symbolizes resistance against discrimination for sex workers around the world.
  Last year, my column provided information about this date. This year, I posed a question to some sex worker friends, asking where energies are currently being directed, to achieve decriminalization and more human rights for sex workers. The sentiment returned stated there is a division within the sex worker community and lack of good legislation language. This legislation does not distinguish between exploitation through sex trafficking and those with a chosen career path. It pushes negative situations deeper underground where it's harder to root out.
  This is evident in "Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation" (SAVE) Act. It passed the House on May 20, 2014, and was introduced to the Senate by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Mark Steven Kirk (R-Ill.) in June. This particular legislation is problematic and is being fought by the following organizations: American Civil Liberties Union, Association of Alternative Newsmedia, Center for Democracy & Technology, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Internet Commerce Coalition, National Coalition Against Censorship, New America’s Open Technology Institute, PEN American Center and the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance.
  The SAVE act would allow the US Department of Justice to determine certain words are a euphemism or a “code word” for trafficking. This would force web operators, publishers and digital ad networks to force censorship on any content with these words or phrases. The letter signed on November 12, 2014 by the above-listed organizations states, “Such a requirement is unworkable in practice. It would give the Department of Justice an enormous amount of discretion to censor online speech, and would not withstand scrutiny under the First Amendment.” The ban would include censoring ALL online advertising and posts on Twitter, Facebook, etc.
  The letter also states, “Unfortunately, the SAVE Act would not be effective in preventing traffickers from using third-party online content hosts, and would create significant burdens on the free speech and privacy rights of millions of wholly innocent Americans who have no connection to trafficking whatsoever.”
  In other ways that sex workers are targeted as a whole, rather than just the few traffickers, the website was shut down by the FBI in June 2014. They claimed it was a site propagating child exploitation and trafficking. The owners of the site were recently released on bail of nearly $1 million. They received one count of a Racketeering Enterprise – Aiding and Abetting and 24 counts of Money Laundering for bank deposits, received for advertising on their website. Nothing related to anything underage has been charged yet, and no evidence of such has been found. The case has been postponed, and will likely see more postponements as the entire history of the site (activity and photographs) is searched for  child exploitation. The site was taken down and charges brought because of hearsay from local police.
  On the website, there is a list of various links about what is happening with sex work around the world, including legislation to punish or decriminalize sex work.
  As people are more burdened by the lack of civil liberties in America, seeing human rights decimated around the world, including unkind and poorly worded legislation, I ask that on December 17th, to make an effort to make our world kinder and filled with more love.
  There is a fundraiser, to help create events across the United States to support International Day To End Violence Against Sex Workers on December 17th. Please consider providing a donation or sharing the link to create more awareness about these events and efforts.
  The division within the community includes not wanting to include sex worker allies in discussions about sex workers rights and decriminalization, and targeting sex worker activists for this. As a sex worker ally, I will continue to spread a message of positivity and love, to create change for more human rights and legal acknowledgments for those consensually involved in sex work.
  Sexologist Destin Gerek has an incredible message of love, to remove the battle of the sexes in our journeys, to end the gender war once and for all. Unite our minds, bodies, senses in a singular message of love. His particular message will be conveyed in an event on January 17th in an event in Los Angeles and will be broadcast online. To learn more about his message, please go to:

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