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International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers - #IDEVASW Memorial Page

A memorial page to remember all sex workers who have been lost to or experienced violence

The 17th of December is International End Violence Against Sex Workers Day. This day was first recognized in the United States in 2003 in response to the murders of sex workers in Seattle, Washington by Gary Leon Ridgeway, the 'Green River Killer'.

Each year sex workers around the world use this day to remember all those from the sex industry who have been murdered or affected by violence and to highlight the need for action to end violence and crimes against sex workers. The issues faced by sex workers can vary around the world due to different laws and social contexts, but one common issue faced by all sex workers is their vulnerability to and experience of violence.

We urge everyone to remember all who have been affected by violence, discrimination and stigma and raise awareness of the importance of decriminalisation to make the industry a safer place. While activities within the sex industry continue to be criminalised such as working together sex workers will continue to experience violence and stigma; all sex workers have the right to feel safe and have their voices heard.

A candle will burn from 1st December until 17th of December to remember all those who have been lost or suffered abuse and violence

Messages and thoughts of remembrance 2023

"Once again on 17th December we remember all those from the sex work community who have lost their lives or suffered violence. And once again we continue to appeal for a change in laws that would help decrease this violence. Decriminalisation is the only real way we can make a difference to the lives of the sex work community which would allow them to work safer, report crimes against them and seek justice. Real action is needed and through our work we will continue the fight to raise awareness and amplify the voices of our sex working colleagues"

In solidarity, Gaynor xxx (CEO, NESWF)

"End Violence Against Sex Workers isn't just about the things we go through to that make it scary to be who we are, it's about recognising our community and how we come together to protect one another in dark times. During COVID, the government did little to protect our rights - we proteced each other instead. We have seen so much hatred towards our community in recent years but we have worked so hard to stand up for ourselves and today is a day that makes me proud of everything we have done and everything we will go on to do to fight for our right to exist safely in a world where we are not judged for simply having a job."

lots of love, Jessica Hyer Griffin xx

Founder of Support for Student Sex Workers 

"We continue to stand in solidarity with the sex work community, recognising their need to be heard and their right to be safe and free from harm, abuse and violence.

We call for change to eradicate the stigma, marginalisation and discrimination experienced by sex workers every day. We acknowledge a regional change that has positively taken place in Cleveland with the implementation of a Sex Work Strategy focused around harm reduction that is supported by services and local authorities across the region and has been shaped by members of the sex work community. We continue to work together and in collaboration to improve safety and remember on the 'International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers' and every day all those who have sadly lost their lives, who have been harmed and continue to experience harm. We look forward to a safer, more equal and inclusive environment recognising the rights and freedoms of all." Sarah (NESWF Trustee)

"17th December is a day to remember all of the Sex Workers who have been victims of violence. It is well known that violence against Sex Workers is best prevented by challenging criminalisation and stigma. Something can be done, why not today?" Alison (NESWF Trustee)

"Today the 17th December 2023 and  every day I stand in solidarity with missing and murdered sex workers to honour their lives, and the lives of all sex workers. At NESWF we continue to promote decriminalisation in order to advance the safety of all sex workers and end violence against them. Today we light candles 🕯️ in remembrance, in solidarity and with much respect. 

Maggie O'Neill (NESWF Trustee)

"Another year, another rise in sex violence statistics. Despite this the community is closer than ever - they need support. It has been a while since I left the industry but my imploration of the government to help has never been bolder. Next year brings new opportunities for change.

 Thank you NESWF. Jamie Mae x

"On International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, we at Open Clasp Theatre Company remember those who inspired Tracey and Rita’s story with Sugar and characters Diane and Marie in Rattle & Roll back in 2010.  We remember all those who stood on the bridge in Mycelial this year, a production co-created with sex work activists from around the world – the woman in the phone box asking ‘How Am I Still Here’, the bridge and her sisters, ‘I remember’." Catrina McHugh MBE

"International Day to end violence against sex workers is about calling on society as a whole to listen to sex workers, to uplift their voices, to recognise them as experts on their lives and needs, and to end the conditions which place them at risk of exceptional harm and violence. We remember those we have lost, and we resolve to continue fighting so that no more lives are needlessly cut short. Each year at NUM, we create resources to raise awareness and remember those in the UK who we have lost please see our website for further information." National Ugly Mugs


"Every year here at A Way Out we acknowledge International End Violence to Sex Workers Day. A Way Out was founded in 2002 in response to the plight of a young woman seen on the street in Stockton selling sex. Over the years the organisation has supported thousands of children, women, and families across Teesside to live lives free from abuse, harm, and exploitation.

The Liberty and STAGE teams work specifically with women who are sex working on the street and those who have been groomed for sexual exploitation. They aim to support women and see them safe from harm, coercion, abuse, and violence. Many people have a perception of sex work being glamorous due to sites like Only Fans and films like Pretty Woman. Unfortunately for the women we work with, this isn't their reality, there is no 'knight in shining armour' coming to whisk them away to a new life, their reality is that some of the men buying the sex can be violent, abusive, humiliate the women and sadly we have experienced loss of life.

We will continue to raise awareness about violence against sex workers, to reduce stigma and work to break down barriers for women in reporting violent crimes against them." A Way Out

Planned events for International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers 2023

Support for Student Sex Workers (SFSSW) and Manchester Action Street Health (MASH) have collaborated for End Violence Against Sex Workers Day to create 'We're Human Too' - a zine focusing on the common human experiences between people who work in the sex work industry. Rather than depicting the horrible circumstances, experiences and statistics which plague our community - which is an important part of everything EVASWD is about, we decided to demonstrate kindness, being human and the things that make us who we are, so we can show 'we're human too' and that we deserve support and the right to be safe like anyone else - whether you agree with our jobs or not.  Jessica Hyer Griffin xx

Changing Lives - North East

Changing Lives North East Event - 15th December 2023 12pm: Red Umbrella March from Newcastle Civic Centre pond 12.30pm: Remembrance Service at Brunswick Methodist Church

National Ugly Mugs (NUM)

Messages and thoughts of remembrance 2022

"We at the North East Sex Work Forum continue to stand in solidarity with the whole of the sex work community and their fight for equal labour rights, better access to social justice and acceptance. On the 17th of December, as with all year round, we will remember those who have experienced or lost their lives to violence and will continue to highlight the injustices that this community face on a daily basis" much love, Gaynor, CEO xxx

"Thank you for supporting me, us, and thank you for supporting our choices and our right to make them without discrimination" Jamie xxx

"In memory and in honour of the sex workers we have sadly lost and those today who continue to experience violence, stigma and discrimination. The fight for change and to have your voices heard will continue. We stand in solidarity with you and your right to be safe, free from violence and marginalisation" Sarah xx (NESWF Trustee)

"This 17th December 2022 I am thinking of all the missing and murdered sex workers, their families, their experiences of criminalisation, stigma, violence, lack of justice and lack of access to justice!!! Today and every day I stand in solidarity with them to honour their lives, and the lives of all sex workers. Together at the NESWF we continue to promote decriminalisation to advance the safety of all sex workers and light numerous candles 🕯️ in remembrance, in solidarity and much respect" Maggie O'Neill xxx (Co-founder NESWF)

Planned events for International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers 2022

National Ugly Mugs (NUM):

  • On their own Twitter account, NUM will be tweeting the names of those they have lost throughout the day

  • They will also be taking over the Twitter account for the Vagina Museum to share more information about the day

  • NUM will also be releasing a memorial video, and this year have also introduced a memorial map sharing information about those they have lost in the UK

A Way Out - Stockton-on-Tees - Friday 16th December:

Changing Lives - Events planned for Friday 16th December

GAP/MAP - Newcastle:

Red Umbrella March: Meet @ St Thomas' Church Newcastle NE1 7PF 12pm

Remembrance Service followed by refreshments @ Brunswick Methodist Church NE1 7BJ 1pm

Red Umbrella Project - Liverpool:

International Day to End

Violence Against Sex Workers

15th December 2022

A day of remembering those who have lost their lives.

Event starts at 12.30pm until 3.30pm at All Saints Church, Shiel Road.

All Welcome.

Speeches, Crafts, Clothes rack, Toiletries and Buffet available to all.

“The International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers is held annually on 17 December for sex workers, their advocates, friends, families, and allies. The day calls attention to hate crimes committed against sex workers worldwide, as well as the need to remove the social stigma and discrimination that have contributed to violence against sex workers.”

Messages and thoughts of remembrance 2021

"Thinking today of sex workers who have experienced violence. It is a day to think about how researchers, support agencies, charities and others can work together with sex workers to prevent violence, and to challenge the stigma, criminalisation and marginalisation that contribute to violence against sex workers"

Alison x

"This IDEVASW I am thinking of all the missing and murdered sex workers, all who suffer as a consequence of criminalisation, stigma, violence and lack of access to justice; and I stand in solidarity with them. As a member of the North East Sex Work Forum, I honour the lives, of all sex workers, remember those we have lost, and will continue to promote decriminalisation in order to advance the safety of all sex workers. ‘Rest in Power’ The candles are burning bright."

Professor Maggie O'Neill North East Sex Work Forum University College Cork

"On Dec 17th we remember all sex workers and their loved ones affected by violence. We campaign to end stigma against sex workers as we know this puts sex workers at greater risk of violence. We work to ensure women who don’t want to sex work no longer have to; by improving their conditions and the opportunities available to them and challenge a system that excludes and marginalises sex workers; whatever their reason for sex working. On 17th of December we stand in solidarity with those who campaign to end violence against sex workers"

Basis Yorkshire

"Each year on the 17th December we remember sex workers who have lost their lives or experienced violence while still battling for change, but each year that change hasn't happened. The need is real. Decriminalise sex work and save lives. We will keep the fight going"

Gaynor, NESWF xx

“This day marks International End Violence to Sex Workers Day, sex workers can be some of the most vulnerable people exposed to violence in our society. All too often they are abused, exploited, profited from and some are sadly killed. AWO want to remember those victims of violence, ensure their voices are heard and their names are not forgotten. We continue to support women and raise awareness across Teesside, challenging perceptions, addressing stigma and discrimination which so often leads to violence.”

A Way Out, Stockton

"IDEVASW is a day to remember those who have been effected by violence and harm when doing sex work, and for those who learn that someone they love has been victim of abuse when exchanging/selling sex.

At Changing Lives, we also use the day to think about those who are exchanging and selling sex for survival and sometimes targeted. Some women and men we support may not identify with term ‘sex work’ but we all come together on this day and can relate to each other in some way, feel connected, feel safe and feel able to ‘let go’ of any emotional trauma we hold.

This is the 13th year our sex work projects across the country have held local events for IDEVASW, in different spaces’ church services and memorials, and red umbrella marches to stand in solidarity with the sex working community. The 17th of December is one of the most important days in the year for our sex work projects; GAP MAP in Northumbria, Amber in Doncaster, Iris in Wolverhampton and Walsall, Red Umbrella in Merseyside and a developing sex work project as part of our Women’s Wellness Centre in York.

At Changing Lives we work with people, people who have life experiences that are diverse. And this year on IDEVASW we want everyone to feel accepted and supported, so all voices are seen and heard."

Laura McIntyre, Changing Lives

Planned events for International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers 2020

17th December 2021

ECP - English Collective of Prostitutes

Justice for Agnes Wanjiru demonstration - 12pm on Friday 17th December 2021, Whitehall Gardens, Victoria Embankment Please share widely within your networks - feel free to use the graphic below and on our website here. 17th December is the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers (IDEVASW), a day in which we honour and mourn sex workers who have been murdered and abused. This year, SWARM (Sex Workers Advocacy and Resistance Movement), ECP (English Collective of Prostitutes) and the AAWG (All African Women’s Group) will be holding a demonstration outside the Ministry of Defence, to protest the murder of Agnes Wanjiru, a Kenyan sex worker, who was killed by a British Army soldier in March 2012. The soldier has not been held to account despite him confessing to a fellow member of his unit. The recent outpouring about violence against women has revealed the systemic sexism, racism and transphobia of institutions like the army and the police. Sex workers frequently bear the brunt of this. Agnes Wanjiru was a mother supporting a young child. Her heart-breaking death is a stark reminder that our lives do not matter to those in power. Justice for Wanjiru means ending the criminalisation that puts us more at risk, demanding resources so that we are not pushed into prostitution by poverty and holding institutions to account, so that they cannot act with impunity in their destruction of our lives and livelihoods. Please join us from 12pm on Friday 17th December 2021 in Whitehall Gardens, Victoria Embankment, to call for justice for Agnes Wanjiru, and sex workers globally. With speakers from SWARM, ECP, AAWG, Women Against Rape and others. Wear red, bring masks and banners

Basis Yorkshire

17 Dec 2021: International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers

It is a shocking and sad fact that sex working women are disproportionately more likely to be victims of violence. Many feel less able to report these crimes either due to fear of being judged or not being believed by the police or outed to friends and family which in itself is one of the reasons why sex workers are more vulnerable to violence. The derogatory language used against sex workers further legitimises violence. The International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers was originally developed by the founder of the Sex Workers Outreach Project USA to make people aware of the “epidemic of violence” sex workers face. It began as a memorial for the victims of the Green River Killer in Seattle who murdered at least 71 women between 1982-1998, most of whom were sex workers. Since then it has grown to unite sex workers rights organisations and charities around the word to raise awareness of Violence Against Sex workers with the aim to address stigma and discrimination which can so often lead to violence. It’s also an important opportunity to remember the lives that have been lost due to violence towards sex workers and show solidarity and support to those who have been affected by violence. We run the 17 Days of Action in order to raise more awareness about the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers and get as many people as possible to join us in pledging their support and solidarity for sex workers.

Our 2021 Campaign… For our 2021 campaign we’re asking our supporters to make a pledge to stand against violence towards sex workers. Below we’ve attached a pledge that you can use, or a blank pledge sheet and make your own. To be involved we ask that you print a pledge and take a picture with your pledge (if you don’t feel comfortable having your face in the photo you can cover it with the pledge sign), then send us the picture by emailing You can also share this on your own social media to help spread the word about #IDEVASW, don’t forget to tag us if you do! Pledge Templates 1 ¦ Pledge Templates 2 Facebook: @Basisyorkshire1 | Instagram: @Basisyorkshire | Twitter: @Basissexwork If you’d like to spread the word about our campaign and help get more people involved feel free to share our information pack attached below that has information on what the campaigns all about and how to get involved. Information and Pledge Templates What’s On We’ll be running activities throughout the campaign, once we’ve got more details you’ll find them uploaded here with information on how you can attend. Webinar – date tbc Wear Red on 17th December – as a sign of solidarity with sex workers on IDEVASW we’re asking people to wear something red. Vigil on 17th December – there will be a vigil in Leeds to mark 17th December, if you would like more information please get in touch with us We’ll also be sharing these across our social media so please give us a follow across our platforms. Facebook: @Basisyorkshire1 | Instagram: @Basisyorkshire | Twitter: @Basissexwork

SWAI - Candlelight Vigil: End Violence Against Sex Workers

Join us at 6:30pm outside Leinster House

The Sex Workers Alliance Ireland (SWAI) invites all sex workers, supporters and allies to join us at a candlelit vigil to mark International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers.

Date: Friday 17th December

Location: Gates of Leinster House

Time: 6:30pm The review of the laws governing sex work has stalled, Garda "welfare checks" have resulted in sex workers being evicted and sex workers have been deported during a global pandemic. We have also seen some more prosecutions of violent criminals who attacked sex workers in the aftermath of the change in the law in 2017. For the second year in a row Ireland languishes in the Tier 2 Watchlist of the Trafficking in Persons report. Despite the promises of client criminalisation fewer trafficking victims have been identified and violence against sex workers has increased by 92%. Stigma against sex workers rages on and affects the health, safety and security of sex workers in Ireland. We will have a moment's silence for those who have suffered violence and lost their lives due to this abhorrent stigma. We ask you to join us on Friday Dec 17th to call for an end to violence against sex workers, and to acknowledge that our laws do not address the root needs of sex workers, which are rights, health, safety and security.

Messages of Remembrance 2020

"Today we remember sex workers whose lives were lost due to violence and everyone affected by violence against sex workers. We must work together to challenge stigma." Basis Yorkshire

"Thinking of all those who have been lost to or experienced violence on 17th December. A day to remember but also to challenge those UK laws that continue to create barriers for sex workers when reporting violence- placing sex workers at risk". Alison

“We remember those women sadly no longer with us, victims of Hate crimes. They were a mum, a sister, a wife, a daughter, they all have names. We remember to give them a voice and to never be forgotten.” Liberty Team, A Way Out

"In memory of the women we have lost but have not been forgotten and the strong and resilient women we continue to work with who have the right to feel and be safe from violence, harm and abuse" Sarah McManus, CEO A Way Out

"My heart goes out to all sex workers in the next 17 days - and everyday, in memory of those who have lost their lives and loved ones.

"Oh God, well its life and death isn't it? It is your life, you are facing death every day." "I'm Scared of getting raped and battered, because I have been before." '"Include our voices and listen to us" What we can do: Decriminalize sex work Address safety and violence; domestic violence and coercion and control Provide Non-judgemental services; Increase reporting and trust in the police; Maintain safer working practices and to help women feel safer in reporting violence to the police; Decriminalize sex work"

Maggie O'Neill, NESWF

XOX ❤️

"This IDEVASW I’m thinking of sex workers lost to violence and also sex workers battling violence today, whether that comes from individuals, society, policing, policy, discrimination, inequality or poverty. Special mention to NGOs that silence sex workers and push for policies that further endanger us while claiming to act in our interests. We see you." Adeline Berry

'Remembering Linda, Danielle, Chantelle, Julie, Sharon, Hanane, Pauline, Adele, Ann Marie, Maxine and Suzanne. I will remember you all for eternity and forever there will be a gap where you should be. Amazing, vibrant beautiful women taken from us too soon. I mourn the others in the sex industry whose lives were taken in the most wicked way and affirm my commitment to sex workers to always stand with you as an ally, to campaign for decriminalisation of sex work, for rights not rescue, and for a world where you don’t have to sex work if you don’t want to because of poverty. I will always fight for justice for those without any and support those left behind. In love and solidarity" Shelly Stoops, Liverpool UK

"I'll always remember the strong, amazing women I walked with and laughed with from A Way Out but who sadly are no longer with us. I stand against hate and discrimination for all sex workers" Gaynor, NESWF x

Past Events

Photographs of the remembrance wall from the event at A Way Out on 17th December 2019:

Remembrance Wall 2019 - A Way Out


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