Leeds charity joins campaign to end violence against sex workers

Basis Yorkshire's flashmob in 2016 for the 17 Days of Action campaign.
Basis Yorkshire's flashmob in 2016 for the 17 Days of Action campaign.
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A Leeds charity is hosting a programme of events next month as it joins campaigners around the globe in calling for an end to violence against sex workers.

Basis Yorkshire’s 17 Days of Action will include a comedy night, a themed pub quiz, a spoken word event, a stall at Kirkgate Market and a seminar for students and professionals.

And for those unable to attend any of the events, there will be opportunities to make an online pledge and show support on social media by taking a picture with a red umbrella.

It is all part of the charity’s ongoing efforts to challenge the stereotypes some people hold about sex workers and to highlight the violence all too often encountered by both indoor and street sex workers.

Amber Wilson, of Basis, said: “We still think it’s unacceptable that woman should feel unsafe because they are sex workers.

“If you don’t want that to happen to citizens of Leeds and women in Leeds, then you shouldn’t want it to happen to them.”

Another of the events will be a Christmas get-together for service users, including a minute’s silence.

Ms Wilson said: “It sounds merry, but it’s also about remembering the women who have been affected by violence and those who haven’t made it through it.”

The charity will also run an extended outreach session on December 15 in Holbeck, where the ‘managed approach’ allows sex workers to ply for trade on certain streets without fear of arrest.

And its volunteers will lead a community clean-up there on December 7, during which representatives will be at St Matthew’s Church to chat with residents from 10am-2pm.

“We totally recognise a one-off clean-up isn’t going to solve the problem, but we’re talking to representatives of the residents and the women as much as we can,” Ms Wilson said. “We’re trying very hard to make sure we can reduce that impact.”

The programme ends on December 17 when a remembrance event will mark the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers.

Visit basisyorkshire.org.uk/ for details of individual events.