Today is the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. Lambda Legal has joined other LGBTQ and allied organizations from around the country in voicing our support for efforts worldwide to defend the lives and rights of all people involved in the sex trades.
Statement of 50+ U.S. LGBTQ and Allied Organizations on the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers
The undersigned lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, Two Spirit and allied organizations mark the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers by calling for support for efforts worldwide to defend the lives and rights of all people involved in the sex trades.
We recognize that systemic homophobia, transphobia and racism, disproportionate poverty and homelessness, widespread discrimination, and an absence of pathways to immigration status, frequently limit the economic and survival options of LGBTQ people, particularly LGBTQ youth and adults of color and transgender people. These conditions not only inform and can contribute to the involvement of LGBTQ people in the sex trades, whether by choice, circumstance, or coercion—they also increase the vulnerability to violence and abuse against LGBTQ people in the sex trades.
We recognize that, of the many LGBTQ people who are victims of hate violence each year, many are—or are perceived to be—involved in the sex trades. Many are targeted for violence in part for this reason.
Just one month ago we observed the Transgender Day of Remembrance, when we commemorate the lives of transgender people who have been targeted for violence. Many of the people we remember today—those lost to violence against sex workers and people in the sex trades—are the same individuals we remembered on November 20.
We recognize that all too often police and other officials abuse both LGBTQ people and people who are or are perceived to be involved in the sex trades. LGBTQ people involved in the sex trades are among those most at risk of violence, yet often face indifference when reporting violence. We recognize that profiling of LGBTQ youth of color and transgender people for prostitution-related offenses remains pervasive in many communities and harms all LGBTQ people, exposing us to violence at the hands of police, prison officials, and immigration authorities.
We recognize that the voices and visions of LGBTQ people who are or have been sex workers or involved in the sex trades have historically been—and continue to be—at the forefront of movements for LGBTQ equality and freedom worldwide, and must play a leadership role in informing our responses to violence against people in the sex trades.
We recognize that policy approaches focused on increasing safety, opportunity, empowerment, and harm reduction, and which focus on meeting basic needs for housing, living wage employment, and health care through voluntary, LGBTQ-affirming and non-judgmental services are essential to ending violence against people involved in the sex trades. We believe that harsh punitive approaches only increase vulnerability to violence among those they seek to protect.
We recognize that violence against sex workers and people in the sex trades is an LGBTQ issue, and we stand committed to ending it.
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