This Saturday, December 17 in NY: International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers

Last year we posted information about the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers and why this is important, just after the bodies of sex workers were discovered on Long Island. No one has been arrested for these murders. Here is the information about this year’s vigil, this Saturday. Scroll down to past posts for information and statements about violence, including these murders very close to NYC.

Here is the information about this year’s NYC event.

What:  DECEMBER 17 International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers
When:  Saturday, 12/17 from 2pm – 4pm

Where: Trinity Lutheran Church of Manhattan, 164 West 100th Street, New York 10025

(Near Amsterdam Avenue. 1, 2, or 3 train to 96th Street. Please note this venue is not wheelchair accessible.)

December 17 on Facebook 

Events Worldwide

Get informed about Dec. 17!

Join us for the annual International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. This is a community gathering and vigil, free and open to the public.

All are welcome, especially if you are currently or formerly involved in the sex trades.  We welcome our friends, families, allies, and those concerned for our health and safety. Please spread the word!

Organized by the Red Umbrella Project ( and Sex Workers Outreach Project New York (

The International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers was first organized nearly a decade ago by sex workers in San Francisco to memorialize the people murdered by serial killer Gary Ridgway. Ridgway captured the attitude that cultivates violence towards sex workers:  “I picked prostitutes because I thought I could kill as many of them as I wanted without getting caught.”

At the event, we create a space that challenges this assumption by demonstrating that we have a caring community.

Co-sponsored by:

The Center for Constitutional Rights
Latino Commission on AIDS
NYC Anti-Violence Project
Queering OWS (Occupy Wall Street)
Paradigm Shift
Police Reform Organizing Project (PROP)
PONY (Prostitutes of New York)
Positive Health Project (PHP)
PROS NetworkSafe Horizon
Sex Workers Project
Trans Women’s Anti Violence Project
Washington Heights CORNER Project


Sunday night: Come to a Ho-liday Bash hosted by Zoe Hansen (no cover/no minimum)

PONY talent will be abundant on Sunday night at the Bowery Poetry Club!

Zoe Hansen (ex-madam, ex-junkie, ex-hooker, now a memoirist)  is your host.
Jodi Sh Doff performing from her one-woman show: “How did a nice Jewish
girl wind up spending a decade naked in Times Square?”  And David Henry Sterry (ex-ho, now a Huffington Post muckraker and bestselling author) co-hosting.

Juicy details on Jodi’s excellent website The Dirty Girl Diaries.

When:  Sunday Dec. 19 at 9pm (No cover/no minimum)

Where: Bowery Poetry Club, 308 Bowery (btw Bleecker and Houston), NY, NY 10012 MAP

METRO: F train to Second Ave, or 6 train to Bleecker

Violence in Year Seven: NBC video, Merseyside police tactics + more

[This post has been updated – scroll down.]

his year NBC covered the December 17 event at Manhattan’s Metropolitan Community Church. Watch here.

On December 17,  2003  when PONY members met on the steps of Judson Church in Greenwich Village,  the  conviction of the Green River Killer was in the news.  The idea for an International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers came from Annie Sprinkle, a longtime PONY coordinator – also a leading voice in our movement.  There was disagreement about whether to invite media, with some wanting a quiet gathering, others urging visibility.

Over time the Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers has evolved into a very public occasion.  This year,  the recently discovered bodies on Long Island brought extra attention to the New York event. In the UK, December 17 attracted police attention – the good kind.  The Merseyside Police even used a sex worker logo to make their point.

[UK] Read the Merseyside Police statement here!

[Video] NBC covers the December 17 event at Manhattan’s Metropolitan Community Church.

[Free download] Research for Sex Work #12 is published on December 17, 2010:  ‘Sex Work and Violence’

[Video] Channel 4’s Tom Llamas talks to Audacia Ray about safety tips for sex workers.

[Guardian online] Audacia connects the dots between Kampala/Uganda and New York/USA


[Updated on Sunday 12/19 – Africa] In Rose-Hill, Mauritius, 100 marched for sex workers rights on Saturday.

[Updated on Sunday 12/19 – SF] Annie Sprinkle talks about San Francisco’s toxic condom policy with SF Bay Guardian’s Caitlin Donohue.

[Updated on Sunday 12/19] Audacia responds to comments by Joel Rifkin in the Daily News.

NY: Audacia on Channel 4 11 pm news tonight

Look for Audacia Ray on the 11 pm news this evening, WNBC Channel 4.  She’ll be talking to Tom Llamas about our December 17 event and the latest issues facing sex workers – New York and everywhere else.

If you don’t have a TV, look for her on

We will post the link here as soon as we have it. Come back soon! [UPDATED: Watch it here. ]

Join us on Friday evening in New York to honor the lives of sex workers we have lost. Details here.

Why December 17? Audacia Ray explains…

“The first time Kyomya Macklean did sex work,” writes Audacia, “her client turned violent after she refused to have sex without a condom…”

But December 17 isn’t about stereotyping our clients. It’s about why that client is not very different from the police and others who claim to be “saving” us.

Read Audacia’s powerful informative  Guardian column here. And please join us on Friday at 7:30, Metropolitan Community Church in Manhattan.

Audacia Ray is a former sex worker and is the founder of the Red Umbrella Project, where she produces monthly storytelling events in New York, a podcast, and storytelling workshops that empower sex workers to tell their stories. She also consults on communications for the Global Network of Sex Work Projects. Her website is here.

Join us on Friday 7:30-9:30

Join us this Friday evening, Dec 17

International Day To End Violence Against Sex Workers

International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers

Join us for a vigil and community speak out

When: Friday, December 17, 2010 at 7:30PM – 9:30PM

Where: Metropolitan Community Church of New York, Sanctuary (2nd floor), 446 West 36th Street, New York, NY 10018 btw 9th & 10th Aves. < >

Who: Current and former sex workers. Intimate allies. Friends. Family. Supporters of all kinds. This event is free and open to the public.

Join us in observing the 7th Annual International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers.

Join us in remembering those we’ve lost to violence, oppression and hate, whether perpetrated by clients, partners, police or the state.

We stand against the cycle of violence experienced by sex workers around the world. Recently in Geneva, the United Nations Human Rights Council examined the human rights record of the United States during their Universal Periodic Review. Uruguay’s recommendation to the Obama Administration – to address “the special vulnerability of sexual workers to violence and human rights abuses” – is the moral leadership we have been waiting for!

Join us in solidarity to fight the criminalization, oppression, assault, rape and murder of sex workers – and of folks perceived as sex workers.

December 17, 2003 was our first annual day to honor the sex workers who were murdered by serial killer Gary Ridgway. In Ridgway’s own words, “I also picked prostitutes as victims because they were easy to pick up without being noticed. I knew they would not be reported missing right away and might never be reported missing. I picked prostitutes because I thought I could kill as many of them as I wanted without getting caught.” (BBC,

We come together each year to show the world that the lives of marginalized people, including those of sex workers, are valuable.

  • Speakers:
    • Audacia Ray, Red Umbrella Project & Sex Work Awareness
    • Chelsea Johnson-Long, Safe OUTside the System Collective of the Audre Lorde Project
    • Michael J. Miller, The Counterpublic Collective and PROS Network
    • Andrea Ritchie, Peter Cicchino Youth Project and Streetwise & Safe (SAS)
  • Readings
    • Reading of the names of sex workers we have lost this past year
    • Memorial for Catherine Lique by her daughter Stephanie Thompson and read by Sarah Jenny Bleviss
    • Speak out: Bring poetry, writings or just speak your truth.

Light snacks, beverages, and metrocards will be provided.

The red umbrella has become an important symbol for Sex Workers’ Rights and is increasingly used on December 17:  First adopted by Venetian sex workers for an anti-violence march in 2002, red umbrellas have come to symbolize resistance against discrimination for sex workers worldwide.

This event is co-sponsored by: Audre Lorde Project, Counterpublic Collective, FIERCE, MADRE, Peter Cicchino Youth Project, The Queer Commons,  PONY (Prostitutes of New York), PROS Network, Red Umbrella Project, SAFER, Sex Work Awareness, Sex Workers Project, SWANK (Sex Workers Action New yorK), SWOP-NYC (Sex Workers Outreach Project), the Space at Tompkins, and Third Wave Foundation.

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For events outside of New York, visit:

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