NY: International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers

Written by Administrator2
Thursday, 24 December 2009 12:43

Listen to the broadcast segment here.

Members of Sex Worker Action New York march at Pride 2009

December 17th was the 7th Annual International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. Originally conceived by Dr. Annie Sprinkle and started by the Sex Workers Outreach Project USA as a memorial and vigil for the victims of the Green River Killer in Seattle, Washington, this event now calls attention to hate crimes committed against sex workers all over the globe, from Montreal to Sydney.

According to the Paulo Longo Research Initiative (a new policy institute focusing on international research on sex workers), Continue reading

LV: March of the red umbrellas

On the scene as sex workers take to the Strip

Abigail Goldman

Tue, Dec 22, 2009 (7:10 p.m.)

“I don’t mind strippers,” the woman says, shrugging with open palms as if to say I’ll give you that, “but I have a problem with prostitutes, ’cause of the diseases they spread.”

This doesn’t go over well.

“That’s a myth,” someone snaps. And before the woman can respond—standing in sweatpants on the Strip, surrounded by people holding protest signs—another person pounces:

“If your pussy is your money, you keep that shit clean.” Continue reading

SF police probe death of trans woman

by Seth Hemmelgarn

San Francisco police are investigating the death of a young transgender woman whose body was found last week in her North Beach residential hotel room.

Mariah Malina Qualls, 23, was found dead in the Golden Eagle Hotel, 402 Broadway Street, on Wednesday, December 9.

Stephen Gelman, administrator for the San Francisco Medical Examiner’s office, said that the manner and cause of death are pending.

Maureen D’Amico, an inspector with the San Francisco Police Department’s homicide unit, said police are investigating the death as a murder. As of Monday, December 14, she said that there had not been any arrests, but police do have leads. She couldn’t offer descriptions of any possible suspects. Continue reading

Memorial for Catherine Lique

Vancouver: Mona remembered

p. 4.


When Pamela Masik returned to Vancouver from the New York Art Academy, she realized the story she needed to tell was right in front of her.

The svelte artist spent four sometimes-tumultuous years creating a series of 69 eight-foot by 10-foot portraits of women who had gone missing from the Downtown Eastside.

“When I would leave the studio and wake up the next morning the first thing on my mind was the women I was painting,” she said. “Many times I would break down in the studio not thinking I could get through it. I’d actually get sick and pass out.”

Masik unveiled her portrait of Mona Wilson, a 26-year-old aboriginal woman who Robert Pickton was convicted of killing after she went missing in 2001, at the Terminus building in Gastown.

The artist also announced her involvement in an arts program sponsored by the Union Gospel Mission.

“If I can change the life of one woman who’s using the shelter that’s my purpose,” Masik said.

And of the portrait of Wilson said Masik, “She’s my sister. They all are.”


Older Stories: Hookers unite!

San Francisco sex workers are on a mission to decriminalize prostitution here and across the country.

By Ann Harrison 1/28/2004

IT SEEMED TO be the seedy underbelly of paid sex in the city. On Jan. 14, federal agents raided four suspected brothels in San Francisco’s Sunset District. Investigators say they busted a sophisticated international prostitution ring in which Asian women were allegedly smuggled into the United States and forced to pay off a $40,000 debt to their traffickers by selling their bodies.

The Standing Against Global Exploitation Project (SAGE), which works closely with local police departments, immediately condemned an underground industry that promises foreigners better lives with good jobs but instead forces them into sex work.

“Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery,” SAGE’s Linnette Peralta Haynes told the Bay Guardian.

Mark Wollman, special agent in charge of the Northern California Office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which raided the brothels, was quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle as saying the six women detained in the raid are being treated as victims rather than criminals. Yet some say that’s a strange distinction in a country that uniformly deems prostitutes – regardless of how they got into the business – criminals. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

UK: Christmas under city’s red lights

By Tom Bishop
BBC News

Most of us look forward to a rest over Christmas but thousands of Londoners will work during the holiday season – including many of the city’s sex workers.

In 2008 the sex worker has been portrayed as the exploited victim of trafficking and as the high class escort Belle de Jour, played by Billie Piper in ITV1’s Secret Diary of a Call Girl.

But London’s massage parlours, saunas, brothels and streets are the work places of a much wider range of women and men.

The International Union of Sex Workers (IUSW) includes middle-aged parlour owners, men who sell sex to men and girls who work on the street with drug addiction problems, among its members.

And, like all workers, they face extra financial pressure at Christmas, says IUSW spokeswoman Catherine Stephens.

“January is usually quiet so many sex workers will work more during November and December to get extra money for their kids’ presents,” she explained.

Very few women work on the street on Christmas Day as clients are Continue reading

Bringing sex workers into the light

18/12/2008 3:10:00 PM.  | Tim Brunero

SEX WORKERS SPEAK OUT: Prostitutes talk to Tim Brunero

Yesterday morning I joined a group of Sydneysiders gathered at a Darlinghurst café for some morning tea.

Like any other group they basked in the sun passing around chocolate biscuits, sipping on coffee and puffing on cigarettes.

But these people weren’t you’re average nine to fivers. They were Sydney prostitutes gathered to mark the International Day of Ending Violence Against Sex Workers.

After awarding the ‘Whore of the Year’ award for sex worker activism and a few light-hearted speeches, we took off on a walk through Darlinghurst’s windier, seedier streets on a mission to remember their fallen comrades.

We gathered in a dingy lane amongst the dumpsters, air-conditioning vents and broken bottles to lay a simple wreath, and observe a minute’s silence.

It was here, in this forgotten alley only a few Christmas Eve’s ago, that a woman lost her life while plying her trade on the streets of our harbour city. Continue reading

Sex Workers Criticize Law Enforcement

By Theola Labbé-DeBose
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, December 18, 2008; B03

Dozens of sex workers marched through the streets of downtown Washington yesterday, demanding better treatment from law enforcement officials of prostitutes who become crime victims.

Clutching red umbrellas and carrying signs that read, “Sex Work Is Real Work” and “Stop Shaming Us to Death,” the men and women came from San Francisco, New York and other cities across the country to publicize a rarely discussed issue that they say is not taken seriously.

The rally and march was organized by the Sex Workers Outreach Project, a San Francisco-based nonprofit, and coincided with today’s fifth anniversary of the sentencing of Gary Leon Ridgway, a Seattle man known as the “Green River Killer” who was convicted of murdering 48 prostitutes in 21 years. The lowly status of prostitutes in society, rally participants said yesterday, explains why the crimes went unsolved for so long.

“I’m just so tired of hearing, ‘If I choose to do X, then I put myself on the line,’ ” said Charmus, 34, a transgender woman who gave only her first name. She lives in Maryland and said she has worked as a prostitute. “Transgender women, prostitutes, you have a right to fight for due process,” she said to the crowd assembled at a downtown park. Continue reading

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