Activists Attend Ceremony Opposing Violence Against Sex Workers

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(WB) LGBT activists were among those attending a ceremony at the D.C. Council chamber on Tuesday commemorating a resolution the Council passed earlier this month recognizing Dec. 17 as the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers.

D.C. Council member David Grosso (I-At-Large), who introduced a bill last year calling for decriminalizing sex work in the District, formally presented the resolution during the regularly scheduled meeting of the Council’s Committee of the Whole. He was joined by members of the D.C. Sex Workers Advocacy Coalition, which includes at least three local LGBT rights organizations and the sex worker advocacy group HIPS.

Grosso noted this was the third year in a row in which the Council passed the resolution recognizing the international day opposing violence against sex workers.

“Normally, we pass the resolution and I present it at a community event to mark the day, but this year I thought it would be important to make the presentation here in the Council chamber,” he said. “That is because many people are unfamiliar with this day and what it represents – the simple idea that no one should be a victim of violence because of being involved in commercial sex.”

Among other things, the resolution says studies show that as many as 80 percent of street-based sex workers have faced violence in the course of their work. The resolution states that the violence “disproportionately affects people involved in commercial sex who are marginalized in other ways, such as women, people of color, transgender individuals, migrants, and young people.”

The D.C. Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance, the LGBT community services center Casa Ruby, and the Anti-Violence Project of the D.C. Center for the LGBT Community are among the local groups that have endorsed Grosso’s bill to decriminalize prostitution in the District. The bill died in committee this year, but a Grosso spokesperson said Grosso plans to reintroduce the measure in 2019.

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