Merseyside marks International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers


Merseyside’s Deputy Police Commissioner was among those who today attended a moving memorial service to mark International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers.


Victims Champion Cllr Sue Murphy united with Liverpool’s internationally-recognised outreach service, the Armistead Street Project, sex workers and allies to remember those who have been lost and renew their commitment to rights for all sex workers at the private ceremony.


The Armistead Street Project have held an event to mark the international awareness day on December 17th for the last 10 years with the aim of increasing awareness of the crimes committed against sex workers and encouraging an end to the stigmas surrounding them.


Events marking the international awareness day will this year take place in more than 60 cities worldwide, with many of them featuring the red umbrella which has now become an important symbol for sex workers’ rights.


At this year’s event, held at the Liverpool Community Health -Health Information Centre in Liverpool city centre, the Deputy Commissioner also took the  opportunity to present an ‘Inspirational Survivor Award’ to one former client who has led the way in getting justice for sex workers.


Sue said: “Women who are involved in sex work are at risk of extreme violence and abuse every day. These women are often vulnerable and we must protect them and do everything we can to end the stigma and marginalisation they experience.


“I’m proud to say that Merseyside Police has led the way in prosecuting and securing convictions against those who commit offences against sex workers, in large part by being the first Force in the country to recognise these crimes as hate crimes.


“By working in partnership with the fantastic Armistead Street Project and through the skill and care of our specialist sexual offences Unity Team we have been able to successfully prosecute violent individuals.


“Today is an opportunity to further raise awareness of these issues and make a public commitment to protect sex workers and continue the good work being done to end the violence they face.”


As well as supporting Armistead, the Commissioner also gives her backing to National Ugly Mugs (NUM), a pioneering, national organisation which aims to protect sex workers. NUM share intelligence anonymously with Merseyside Police and other forces around the country and use reports of violent incidences to send out warnings directly to sex workers about dangerous individuals.  The charity also helps both women and men to access professional support when they have been a victim of crime.


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