A march raising awareness for women who suffer violence in the sex industry is about to begin in downtown Vancouver.
The event, hosted by the Providing Alternatives, Counselling and Education Society, will be attended by politicians and activists with an aim to call attention to hate crimes committed against those working in the sex industry.
It was first founded in 2003 after 50 women were murdered by serial killer Gary Ridgway.
This year’s will include a panel of speakers, including leading figures in the sex worker rights movement, along with researchers, to talk frankly and openly about the struggles faced by sex workers and the stigma surrounding them.
Spokeswoman for PACE, Brenna Bezanson, says any violence against sex workers is too much.
“The rates of violence experienced by sex workers really varies depending on where the sex work is happening, whether it’s outdoor sex work or sex workers working from their home and all of the regulation around sex work and all of the evidence has shown sex workers are greater risk of violence.”
She says it often goes unnoticed by the public, and that needs to change.
“This should not be one day a year that people pay attention to listening to sex workers’ voices. I think that we as a society would do a better job if we listened to marginalized people instead of telling them what we think of the way that they are living their lives.”
Politicians and activists will march through the downtown East side carrying red umbrellas at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, but the event itself will kick off earlier at 1 p.m.