Thank you COYOTERI SWOPBEHINDBARS Inc (SBBi) & SWOP USA for all you do for sx workers and the allied communities.
Friday, December 17, 2021, SWOP Behind Bars joins sex workers, allies and advocates from around the world in recognizing International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. As we come together to remember those lost, we renew our commitment to the ongoing struggle for empowerment, visibility, and rights for all people who trade sex.
For nearly two decades our community members have dedicated many months, meticulous care and endless anxiety each year to the collection and creation of the annual memorial list. Each year, the search for names, dates, locations, cause and circumstances of each life and death, reminds us that one day our own names will be on this list.
We are so grateful to those community members, organizations and allied individuals that have dedicated countless heartbreaking hours to this necessary annual task. If you see there is a name missing from this public list, please add them in your hearts and in your own memorial and know that our community respects the families and loved ones of those who do not wish to be identified at this time.
Let us never forget that these lives were not just harbingers of tragedy, but complicated, sometimes messy, often joyful, precious, valuable, and loved. They were fully three-dimensional human beings deserving of dignity and respect in memoriam.
Over the years, we have made changes to the way that we recognize this day as an institution. We no longer externally publish last names,ges or links to triggering articles. We don’t overindulge in salacious details. We do not publicly name killers because to do so would point to an individual instead of the structural chaos that is embedded in our institutions, allowing society to think we are disposable. We often look for family and friends to share details about their lives and ask for their consent to add their loved ones name. We spend many hours trying to seek out these stories where our fallen comrades laughed and played and loved. It never surprises us to note that the sharing of how they lived their lives was a reflection of who they were and not what they did.
We fully commit to future International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers memorials. We will keep working to amplify voices denied in life, and to call to light the structural and institutional failings in our society where we find there was often an opportunity – sometimes many – to intervene, but ultimately failed. We call on our community to recommit to looking out for our own, and to take every opportunity to push past the fear, ignorance, stigma and judgement to hold each other’s hearts in our own loving hands.
On December 17th, we renew our commitment to solidarity. The majority of violence against sex workers is not just violence against sex work – it’s also violence against women, people of color, LGBTQ+ people, and every intersection therein. It is violence against those who might not identify as sex workers, but rather as hustlers, survivors and victims of exploitation. With relentless solidarity we can protect those among us who are drug users, immigrants and migrant workers. We cannot end the marginalization and victimization of all sex workers without also fighting trans-phobia, racism, stigma and criminalization, drug use, and xenophobia.
International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers was first recognized in 2003 as a vigil for the victims of the Green River Killer in Seattle, Washington. Since 2003 December 17th has empowered people from cities around the world to organize.
During the week of December 17th, sex worker communities and social justice organizations stage actions and vigils and work to raise awareness about violence that is commonly committed against sex workers. The assault, battery, rape and murder of sex workers must end. Racism, economic inequality, systems of colonialism, state violence and oppression must end. The stigma, discrimination and criminalization that makes violence against us acceptable must end. Please join with sex workers around the world to stand against criminalization and violence committed against us.
The 2021 International Day To End Violence Against Sex Workers Memorial List was curated and compiled as a COYOTE RI Project. We are grateful to M Dante- SWOP Behind Bars for their help to research and fact check.
November 9: November 26: Gabby, 33, a Gender Non-Conforming POC died from unknown causes in NYC, only one day after their release from Rikers Island Jail.
November 9: Amanda 27, died from an intentional overdose in Delaware.
November 8: Annysa. 28, who was 7 months pregnant, died by homicide in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
November 5: Almalik, 39, was shot and murdered by a neighbor’s son in Bronx, NY.
November 2: Jenny, 25, trans woman – found dead in front of a home in Tampa, FL.
October 27: Abigail, 22, was shot to death in Fort Worth, Texas. Abigail documented on social media that she had found an unknown tracking device on her vehicle on Oct 14th, barely 2 weeks before her death.
October 22: Stephanie, 33, was beaten to death by a truck driver in Wichita, Kansas
October 2: Tyjiah, 58, trans woman/activist – died of natural causes in Boston, MA
September 25: Leah, 35, passed away from sepsis in Sierra Nevada, CA.
September 19: Casey, 24 transgender woman, was shot-murdered in St Louis City, SC. Police say “3 homicides in St. Louis city, county are connected.”
September 11: Destiny, 24, was murdered and left in the desert south of Las Vegas, Nevada.
August 29: Jenae, (Mercedes) 33,- An OnlyFans Model – strangled by a stalker in a murder/suicide in Richmond, TX.
August 19: Treasure, 35, was found dead in a RV owned by a Chicago cop who has since resigned from the police force.
August 17: Valessha, 31, shot 50 times driving home from the club she worked at in Katy Texas
August 13: Nicole, 42, was murdered and found in a barrel, in New York City, NY.
August 13: Trisha, 30, overdosed in Jail in Alamance County, NC
August 2020, 37 years after serial killer Robert Hansen murdered Horseshoe Harriet. Her remains were identified as Robin (Last Name withheld) by DNA genealogy. She would have been 19 at the time she was murdered and there is no record that anyone reported her missing. The surviving next of kin of Robin has requested that they not be contacted directly while they come to grips with this heartbreaking news. The Department of Public Safety has purchased a new grave marker identifying the final resting place of Robin at the Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery.
July 21: Fabian (“Cosi”) 74, passed away in San Francisco, CA.
July 11: Ashley, 33, was murdered in Columbus, Ohio.
June 30: Dahlia, 31, died by suicide while battling caner and living in her car, in Northridge, CA.
June 12: Tierramarie, 36, trans woman, shot and murdered in Cleveland, Ohio.
June 11: Butchie, 71, a white male, passed away in his sleep in Tennessee.
June 9: Lauren, aka Dakota, 27, died of an overdose in Los Angeles, CA.
May 24: Kathleen, 50, was murdered in St. Lucie County, Florida.
May 18: Gisselle, 30, died of unknown causes in Washington, DC.
May 15: Remy, 25 trans woman, was shot and murdered in Charlotte, NC.
May 13: Nona, 37, trans woman, sex worker and activist, died of unknown causes in Washington, DC.
May 9: Amanda 25, died in her sleep in Los Angeles.
May 9: Alex, 22, male porn performer with Helix studios. died of unknown causes.
May 7: Mistress Velvet, 33 trans woman, committed suicide in Chicago, IL
April 16: Raheem, 28 trans woman, was murdered in Charlotte, North Carolina.
April 9th: Candice, 27, shot by a client who thought she stole his wallet in Las Vegas, Nevada.
April 4: Jaida, 29 trans woman, was murdered by in Charlotte, North Carolina.
March 22: Denita, 21, killed by a client in Baltimore Maryland.
March 16: Five massage parlor workers in Atlanta, GA. While it is not clear that these women were participating in erotic labor, the assailant made his intentions and beliefs about them explicit. The fetishization and stereotyping of Asian women as sex workers is one of many factors leading to violence against the AAPI community.
January 9: Name unknown, murdered in Houston, Texas.
Jan 21: Margo St. James 83, lifetime sex worker and activist died of natural causes in Bellingham, Washington
A complete list of all the US based Sex Workers who have gone before their time – as early as 1835 – can be found at COYOTERI.org
Thank you for such a clear and poignant statement on this day of Remembrance. Too many victims from all walks of life, gender and nationality. It seems to me that we are missing the point: it’s not a question of punishing people who consensually agree to an intimate relationship but rather a question of throwing down our prejudices and our repugnant attitude that prevents sex workers and their partners to be permitted their right for such an exchange. It’s a question of decriminalization along with a big dose of respect and arms-length allowance so people can live the life they choose to live.