Sex workers rally against discrimination


In brief

Taking a stand against social stigmas, the Sex Workers Outreach Project, an activist group for workers in the sex industry, staged a protest Dec. 17 in Washington, D.C., for recognition of their legal rights by police.

Sex workers not only face the risk of contracting disease, but also must deal with the possibility of assault, battery and worse. Police rarely investigate claims by sex workers, however, and use the criminalization of sex work itself as a bludgeon to discourage legal charges.

The rally coincided with the fifth anniversary of the sentencing of the infamous “Green River Killer,” who murdered 48 prostitutes over 21 years. Rally participants said the killer, Gary Leon Ridgway, was able to operate for so long because of the lower social status that was attached to his victims.

One worker said, “Alone, we’re just prostitutes on the corner and no one respects us. Together we are a political movement, and we can change things.”

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