Prostitutes gathered for a vigil on Parliament Hill Saturday marking the ninth annual International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers.
“We do it in a public place, specifically, so that we can draw public attention,” said Emily Symons from Prostitutes of Ottawa-Gatineau Work, Educate and Resist (POWER).
“Sex workers have always faced violence.”
Around 80 people — men and women — attended the event, hosted by POWER, to honour the memory of local sex workers who were killed in the last 30 years.
Their names were read, as attendees paused for a moment of silence.
While the majority of the crowd was made up of women, “we did have some male sex workers, as well as partners of sex workers,” said Symons.
Guest speakers touched on the epidemic of missing Aboriginal women.
Members of POWER and the Sexual Assault Support Centre also shared words.
“On Dec. 17, we bear witness to the ongoing violence against sex workers everywhere, celebrate those who dare to resist oppression and add our voices to the many calling for an end to violence against sex workers,” said Symons.