Protest at Kitchener City Hall to mark International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers (Kitchener Today)
Every December 17, sex workers and advocates come together—wearing red and carrying a red umbrella—to bring attention to the dangers in their line of work, and to call for greater justice.
Sex Worker’s Action Network (SWAN) have been organizing the local ‘die-in’ for the past few years, where protesters lie on the ground to represent all the lives lost in the sex trade.
Dec. 17 is International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. A day for sex workers, their families, friends, advocates and allies to remember people they have lost. The goal is to bring attention to the criminalization of sex work that creates the stigma, discrimination and hate that breeds physical and sexual violence, including murder, against members of our communities.
A local network of support and service providers wants approved agencies to put small red umbrella stickers in their windows and doors as a symbol of safety to sex workers in the region.
The Sex Workers Action Network hopes the red umbrellas will do for sex workers what the rainbow flag sticker has done for members of the LGBTQ community.
On the 2017 International Sex Workers’ Day, SWAN held a “die-in” at Kitchener city hall. Those in attendance wore red in remembrance of sex workers who have been killed, face on-going violence, and continue to resist. At 3pm, those wearing red dropped to the ground and others placed the internationally adopted symbol of a red umbrella over the participants of the die-in. Participants held their positions for a few minutes of silence and then proceeded to carry out the event by giving out hand bills to raise awareness about the day and sex work in general.
Angie Murie, co-chair of the sex workers’ network, said the survey interviewed those involved in survival sex work. The group is looking at ways to help sex trade workers at this moment.
“Where are you in regards to change? You are here. OK let’s work with that,” she said. “If you want to stay in sex work then that’s your choice, but let’s make it safer for you,” she said.