Candlelight vigil brings awareness to violence of sex trade

Published: Dec. 17, 2017 at 11:01 PM AKST
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A group of men and women gathered in downtown Anchorage Sunday, in order to raise awareness for those that often fall victim to abuse and violence.

As part of the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, former sex workers, sex trafficking victims and their allies gathered for a candle light vigil.

The event was also a way to memorialize sex workers who are believed to have been murdered.

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, the group said it advocates for safety and protection for everyone in Alaska's sex trades.

According to the Erotic Service Providers Legal, Education and Research Project (ESPLERP) the international day of recognition started in 2003, in response to a 16-year killing spree by a convicted serial killer in King County, Washington, who would allegedly target prostitutes.

"Crimes against sex workers go under-reported, unaddressed and unpunished. But no matter what you think about sex workers, they are part of our families, neighborhoods and communities - and they deserve to be safe," Maxine Doogan, president of ESPLERP, said in a statement released to the media.