Trigger Warning: This article contains delicate information about sexual violence.
Basis Yorkshire is a small charity based in Leeds that divides into four main services: Basis Sex Work Project supports female and transgender sex workers that work in all sectors of the Leeds sex industry, including those working indoors & online. Basis Training which provides specialised training on a range of topics such as understanding sexual violence and managing the responses, to which all proceeds go back into the charity. Historic CSE which works with and supports any women (18 years or older) living in Leeds who have experienced Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) as a child or young person. Basis Young People’s Projects helping young girls at risk of child sexual exploitation access support, information in a safe, non-judgemental environment.
This week they launched a campaign named ‘17 Days of Action’ to commemorate the 17th of December 2017; International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. The Red Umbrella was first used in Italy in 2001, where sex workers all over the world marched through the streets for sex worker rights. Did you know that 180 sex workers have been murdered in the UK in the past 26 years? It saddens me to think that some might turn a blind eye to violence inflicted on sex workers. Sex workers are mothers, students, colleagues etc but most importantly they are human. And if a person is capable of inflicting pain on these women or any women for that matter, they should face their crimes. If you are still unconvinced by my words, please take some time to watch this short film: http://makemumsafer.com/
“I wish they’d stop criminalising so much and start letting people work together. Because it would be ten times safer.” #sexworkersays
International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers was originally developed by Dr Annie Sprinkle and the founder of the Sex Workers Outreach Project Robyn Few in the USA. Its purpose was to make people aware of the “epidemic of violence” sex workers face. It began as a memorial for the victims of the Green River Killer in Seattle Washington who murdered at least 71 women between 1982-1998, most of whom were sex workers. Since then it has grown to unite sex worker rights organisations and charities around the word to raise awareness and money for those victims of violence with the aim of addressing stigma and discrimination which can so often lead to violence.
Basis Sex Work Project witness or hear the horrific violence some women working in the sex industry endure. For the second year running, they have decided to put their all into the campaign and they are eager to share all the events with the lovely Lippy readers, hence this article!
Here are a few events to get involved in:
4th Dec (2-3:30pm) Seminar: Sex Work – the basics @ Basis offices (94 North Street)
5th Dec (7:30pm) A Lolshevism comedy night with ex sex worker and comedian Miranda Kane @ Hyde Park Book Club
7th Dec (10am-2pm) Community Clean Up Holbeck
7th Dec Evening with Spoken Word Society
9th Dec (11am-3pm) Information stall and collection tin in Leeds City Centre (by the St Johns centre)
13th Dec (7:30pm) Sex Work Quiz Night @ Northern Monk
14th Dec (10am-2pm) Market stall @ Leeds Kirkgate Market
15th Dec (from 8pm) All night outreach (location tbc)
17th Dec International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, flash mob and remembrance event
What else can you do?
Well, they are looking for volunteers for the 9th of December! Likewise, if you want to be involved in the All Night Outreach or flash mob, just email email@example.com
What’s more, you can share information about their events, ask your friends to come, keep updated by liking the Facebook Page and following them on Twitter (@basissexwork). Donating on the campaign page (https://www.justgiving.com/BasisYorkshire) or through texting BSXW17 £5 to 7007!
If you have any warm clothes, blanket, or Christmas decorations lying around that you no longer use then please donate them! Donations can be dropped off at their office in 94 North Street; Leeds LS2 7PN, Drop-In runs Monday-Wednesday from 1pm-4pm every week.
Thankyou for reading!