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


Monday: 55-year-old vet charged with murder

A military veteran Hassam Malik is charged with killing 28-year-old Betty Williams in his East Harlem apartment.  He has reportedly said that he paid her to have sex and claims that she attacked him first. Daily News reports that prosecutors do not agree with his self-defense claim, due to forensic evidence.

The police have apparently told various tabloids that Betty had a history of prostitution.   CBS News here emphasizes her drug arrests and suggests the murder is a drug transaction gone wrong.  Daily News adds that  “Malik’s neighbors said he often boasted of bringing women to hotels and stealing their credit cards.”

Betty’s body was found in a suitcase near Rao’s restaurant.  AOL News points out that Betty was found “not far from where another body was found in a suitcase” in 2003.  After reading the NY Times coverage from 2003, we’re wondering if there’s a connection or a pattern.

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.

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.

Who are we?

PONY (Prostitutes of New York) is a member of the Global Network of Sex Work Projects.  You can read more about us here.

If you are a PONY member who has dropped off our mailing list by accident, please write to us! Our email address is

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