Sex workers and allies in Toronto are joining global demonstrations to mourn the murders of two women in Europe that worked in the sex trade. More than 28 demonstrations in countries around the world are taking place July 19 to protest the criminalization and stigma of sex workers by the Swedish and Turkish states.
In Toronto, the demonstration will take place at 3pm outside the Swedish Embassy at 2 Bloor St West.
The two sex trade workers, identified as Jasmine and Dora, were murdered two days apart at opposite ends of Europe.
“Our board member, fierce activist and friend Petite Jasmine got brutally murdered [July 11, 2013]. Several years ago she lost custody of her children as she was considered to be an unfit parent due to being a sex worker. The children were placed with their father regardless of him being abusive towards Jasmine. [On July 11] the father of her children killed her. She always said, “Even if I can’t get my kids back I will make sure this never happens to any other sex worker,” reads a written statement from Rose Alliance, a Swedish sex workers organization.
Dora, a trans woman and sex worker in Kusadasi, Aydin in Turkey was stabbed by a client on July 9.
Activists say that although Jasmine and Dora’s lives were very different in many ways, both women died as a direct result of criminalization and stigma of sex workers.
"It is with sadness, grief and anger that members of Sex Worker Open University will gather in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Sheffield, Brighton and London on Friday the 19th to protest against the murders of Dora and Jasmine,” Luca Stevenson, coordinator with the International Committee for the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe (ICRSE).
“The systemic violence faced by trans sex workers in Turkey, and the institutionalized stigma and discrimination of the ‘Swedish model’ have both led to the violent deaths of two young women,” says Stevenson. “Governments, civil societies, feminists, LGBT and human rights’ organization need to wake up and listen to sex workers and work together, with us, so that our rights, our access to justice and our freedom to live free from violence and discrimination can be attained.”
For more information visit jasmineanddora.wordpress.com