CEO Statement: International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers 2019


Tuesday December 17th 2019 marks the 16th annual International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers (IDEVASW). This event exists to draw attention to the high rates of murder and violence faced by sex workers within the UK and around the world.

Every day, sex workers report incidents of crime perpetrated against them to NUM. We see first-hand the extent of the damage that criminalisation, stigma and marginalisation can have on those within the sex industry, and understand that this harm is magnified by the justice system which can further victimise those who report crimes.

Sex workers around the world are denied equal rights and full social protection, placing them at greater risk of physical and emotional harm. At NUM, we believe that sex workers deserve better, and that as a society, we can do better to protect sex workers and prevent harm.

In the UK, 184* people involved in sex work were murdered since 1990. Very little media attention has been given to them, and even less afforded to the conditions that contribute to this violence. These individuals were part of our families and communities. They were important to their loved ones and friends, and they are important to us.

Their names can be found in the memorial card below, and we invite you to pause for a few moments and remember each of them.

This December 17th, we join the international community in saying the names of sex workers who have been murdered and we urge you to do the same.

Download our #IDEVASW2019 Memorial Card and distribute it as part of your December 17th events or to family, friends and colleagues.

  • Explore how stigma and criminalisation combine to reduce the power that sex workers have over their work and lives;
  • Commit to listening to sex workers and sex worker-led organisations.
  • Help end their victimisation by refusing to be silent.
  • Work with sex workers to eliminate the social conditions and the harmful policies that limit their life chances.

Let’s work together to ensure no more sex workers die at the hands of predators or due to ill-informed policies and exclusionary politics.

Say their names so that you don’t forget them.

Say their names so that no one ever forgets them.

To the sex workers who we've lost we echo a phrase used in Black communities in the US and among queer and marginalised people for those who were killed due to socially unjust conditions: May they Rest in Power!

Our thoughts are with the families and friends of sex workers who were murdered in communities around the world.

In solidarity,

Dr. Raven Bowen
National Ugly Mugs

* This number only reflects those murdered, who are in the public domain and who have been identified as sex workers.