Joint Statement on December 17th from SWP & Support Ho(s)e

International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers was first recognized on December 17, 2003 as a memorial and vigil for the victims of the Green River Killer who murdered over 70 sex workers in Seattle, Washington. Since then, the meaning of December 17 has empowered people from cities around the world to come together and organize against discrimination and remember victims of violence.

The Sex Workers Project joins Support Ho(s)e, Lysistrata and other Queens community allies in calling for an emergency rally to demand justice for Yang Song, a community member murdered in an NYPD-led raid on her workplace in November. In yet another horrific example of the daily violence and injustice faced by sex workers around the world, Yang Song’s death highlights the undeniable harm caused by criminalization and dangerous “rescue tactics” employed by law enforcement that conflate sex work and human trafficking.

No one is safe until everyone is safe; no one is free until we are all free. People in the sex trade are workers, parents, neighbors, friends, and loved ones navigating complex circumstances to survive, thrive, and support their families and communities. We must each take responsibility to ensure not one more person is subject to the isolation that makes violence possible.  We imagine a world that is safe for sex workers, where human trafficking does not exist, and where all people can live free from violence, stigma, and exploitation.

We demand:
-An end to all violence against women, queer people, trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming individuals, People of Color, people experiencing poverty, migrant workers, immigrants with barriers to documentation, and incarcerated peoples
-The full decriminalization of sex work and related survival economies
The defense of worker rights and protections in all forms of labor
-Divestment from mass incarceration and commutation of people in those systems
-Policies to reduce harm enacted on those already impacted by criminal justice involvement
-An end to NYPD’s terrorizing of vulnerable communities and accountability for predatory practices including profiling, street harassment, sexual violence, raids, extortion, and murder
-An end to ICE presence in courts, schools, hospitals, and private homes and instead, meaningful Sanctuary City practices emphasizing community informed trust and safety
-An end to criminal legal responses to “save” trafficking victims, such as Human Trafficking Intervention Courts and other misguided diversion models
-A widened safety net of non-coercive, non-judgmental support services and increased access to material resources to ensure economic stability and affirm people’s self determination
-Investment in community leadership honoring the expertise and lived experiences of those most impacted by criminalization and violent systems

At noon December 17, 2017, join us at the 109th NYPD precinct in Queens to honor Yang Song’s life and demand safety, dignity, and human rights for all sex workers!

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