Media Alert: 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence: Sex workers stand against violence towards sex workers

On the 10 December 2015, Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT) and Sisonke National Sex Workers Movement in South Africa will be commemorating the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers in various provinces. Around the world this day customarily is celebrated on the 17th December. It is a day of solidarity where sex workers, allies, and advocates come together to mourn the violence perpetrated against sex workers and renew commitments to end this violence. The Day to End Violence against Sex Workers was first recognized in 2003 as a memorial and vigil for the victims of the ‘Green River Killer’ in Seattle, Washington. Since 2003, Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers has empowered people from cities around the world to come together and organize against discrimination of sex work and remember victims of violence. This year has brought an increase in supporters for the decriminalisation of sex work with the launch of Asijiki, a coalition for the decriminalisation of sex work which currently has a rapidly growing membership from civil society organisations and individuals. Despite these forward strides by civil society, sex work remains criminalised under South African law and there has been a worrying trend of sex worker murders in South Africa. 2014 saw a high number of brutal murders of sex workers, one being of Desiree Murugan whose body was found beheaded in Durban. In November 2015 alone, 4 sex workers have been murdered in South Africans. The deep stigma and vulnerability of sex workers to violence and harassment has further been illustrated by the recent actions of the police in Pretoria. In response to the murder of a sex worker, police have terrorised the deceased colleagues who were will to give statements and have set fire, 4 times, to their shacks and possessions. South Africa is not the only country where violence against sex workers is committed with impunity. On the 10 December 2015 we stand in solidarity with sex worker activists and call for the decriminalisation of sex work and an end to violence against sex workers. Memorial events will be happening in all nine provinces. In Gauteng, the first ever sex worker sector parliament will be taking place, hosted by the Gauteng Legislature. They have invited 500 sex workers from five district in Gauteng to debate about the Decriminalisation of Sex Work in South Africa. For more information contact the SWEAT … Continue reading →