Candlelight Vigil Calls for an End To Violence Against Sex Workers
There will be events around the country on 17 December 2003, to call attention to violence committed against sex workers.
In New York, a candlelight vigil will be held at 6 pm on Wednesday, 17 December 2003 at Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square South.
The Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers was conceived of by the Sex Workers Outreach Project, in the wake of the conviction last month of Gary Ridgway, the Green River Killer, who killed at least 48 prostitutes in Washington State.
Ridgway said "I hate most prostitutes and I did not want to pay them for sex.
. . . I also picked prostitutes as victims because they were easy to pick up without being noticed.
I knew they would not be reported missing right away and might never be reported missing.
I picked prostitutes because I thought I could kill as many of them as I wanted without getting caught."
This grave issue is not unique to the west coast.
This summer, a 19 year old immigrant prostitute who worked out of her Manhattan apartment was murdered.
Serial killers have also preyed upon sex workers in New York, where Joel Rifkin killed 17 sex workers before his arrest in 1993.
Many more violent crimes against prostitutes remain unaddressed. "Revolving Door," a report by the Sex Workers Project, documents reports from street prostitutes who describe difficulties reporting violence committed against them to the police.
When asked about reporting violence to the police, "Carol" told researchers "If I call them, they don't come.
If I have a situation in the street, forget it.
'Nobody told you to be in the street.'
After a girl was gang raped, they said 'Forget it, she works in the street.'"
She continued, "I hope that never happens to your daughters. I'm human."
In the report, the Urban Justice Center (UJC) challenges the City to mount an aggressive campaign to ensure that all violence against sex workers is taken seriously by law enforcement authorities.