A group of about a dozen gathered together Saturday evening in Anchorage to remember and renew – to remember those victimized for being sex workers and to renew their commitment to end violence against sex workers in Alaska.
The group, Community United for Safety and Protection, hosted its second annual Alaska International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. In its 12th year worldwide, the day aims to raise awareness about violence the group says is commonly committed against sex workers.
The group in Alaska consists of current and former sex workers, including sex trafficking victims, who say they want current laws to change so that people feel comfortable coming forward without fear of being arrested or investigated.
“There’s a difference between legalization of prostitution and decriminalization of prostitution,” said Maxine Doogan, CUSP board member. “And we want to see the decriminalization of prostitution where all the participants are no longer made criminals.”
That, she says, would make it easier for a victim of violence or a witness to violence to come forward and report those incidences without the threat of being arrested.
A vigil followed the event’s dialogue. The participants held a small candle in their hands to honor the victims of the violence committed against sex workers.