On December 17th, some Americans observed an unusual day. That day was International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. A group called Central Outreach posted one message. “Sex workers have the right to be safe at work, without fear of violence or stigma. Today we remember those who have lost their lives, and we stand with sex workers to demand decriminalization.” One study found that “Lifetime prevalence of any or combined workplace violence [against sex workers] ranged from 45% to 75% and over the past year, 32% to 55%.”
Sex work, while legal in some European countries, is criminalized in most of the United States. There’s a great deal of controversy over proposals to decriminalize it.“[Anti-sex worker movement] deliberately conflate[s] sex work with human trafficking, arguing that decriminalization would increase trafficking despite evidence to the contrary,” Pivot Legal Society says.
The ACLU argues “Protecting sex workers from police violence is just one of the reasons we need to decriminalize sex work. It would also help sex workers access health care, lower the risk of violence from clients, reduce mass incarceration, and advance equality in the LGBTQ community, especially for trans women of color…”
There are advocacy groups working for the safety and legalization of sex workers. Those efforts remain a work in progress.