On December 17, 2009 Sex Workers Outreach Project-Chicago will join other sex worker rights organizations all over the world in commemorating the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. This date was chosen by Dr. Annie Sprinkle in recognition of the conviction of Gary Ridgway, the Green River killer, a man whose reign of terror over almost twenty years resulted in the known deaths of 48 women. These women, who also happened to be sex workers, were targeted by Ridgway because, in his own words, “I picked prostitutes because I thought I could kill as many of them as I wanted without getting caught”.
Our current laws, enforcement practices and narrow social perceptions create a supportive environment for other Gary Ridgways to exist and thrive. One of our concerns is that sex work is an industry that is often marginalized, dangerous, or criminal. We want to see safety and rights granted to all sex workers – those in the industry by choice as well as those in the industry who want out. SWOP-Chicago invites the community to commemorate this day with us as we remember colleagues lost to violence in the past year, to learn why laws both current and pending increase harm against the sex worker population and what can be done to create a non-violent future where violence against sex workers is an occurrence of the past.
A vigil will be hosted by SWOP-Chicago at the Barbara and Barbara Gallery, located at 1021 N. Western Avenue on Thursday, December 17. The vigil will feature a community art project, a candle lighting ceremony as the names of the victims are read as well as a variety of speakers, readings and performers reflecting the diversity of the sex worker community. We invite current and former sex workers, adult industry performers, or those impacted by the sex trade to come out and speak about their experiences in the industry or bring something to read. Food and snacks provided.
Barbara & Barbara Gallery
1021 N. Western Ave.
Reception starts at 6:30pm
Event runs until 10 pm
No cover, but beverages available by donation
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