Today, Wednesday 17th December is the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers.
The London Campaign against Police and State Violence stands in solidarity with sex workers who face violence often in their work. Last year on the 4th December, the Metropolitan Police using 250 police officers, invited Sky News, BBC and the London Evening standard to watch and photograph the intimidation and violence that accompanied the mass arrest in Soho.
We acknowledge that these raids did very little to help or “rescue” these workers but instead publicly shamed these women, legitimised evictions and put them into greater risk and vulnerability. As we have seen in Brixton earlier this year, this gentrification, by which we mean the displacement of settled working class communities, is performed through orchestrated violence and the combined efforts of selective capital disinvestment and investment. The motive was neither a moral crusade for “values” nor a protective effort to “save” trafficked women, this was about capitalist revanchism. The eviction of marginalised women, the seizure of property and land was in order to increase profitability of rents. For this reason, the spectacle of violence was meted out by the State. The attacks that these sex workers endured and continue to endure, imperilled not only their safety and physical bodies but also their ability to survive.
We support the statement and pledge to end violence against sex workers written by the Safety First Initiative and the candle-lit march today called by the Prostitutes Collective which starts at Soho Square at 6:45pm, more details here.