To: Governor Tom Wolf

PA Proclamation Addressing Stigma & Violence Against Sex Workers

December 17th 2018 is the 15th International Day To End Violence Against Sex Workers. Philly made history last year with fair and balanced press coverage of an event usually shrouded in silence. This year we strive to connect from the street to the state by having a PA Proclamation Supporting D/17.

Why is this important?

EPGN article by Tim Cwiek: Pennsylvania resident Melanie Dante wants state lawmakers to enact an anti-violence resolution on behalf of sex workers.

Dante, now 48, is an advocate for LGBT rights and the rights of sex workers. She said several local trans women who were murdered recently were perceived to be sex workers.

“I care very deeply about that,” she told PGN.

In an effort to lessen the violence, she’s pushing for state lawmakers to pass an anti-violence resolution regarding sex workers in Pennsylvania.

“Each individual’s human rights are sacred, including the human rights of those of us who have lived the sex trade,” Dante told PGN.

She said the term “sex work” encompasses various forms of erotic activity.

“Sex work is a broad category that includes prostitution, escorting, sugar babes, strippers, lap dancers, cam girls, dominants and submissives, massage therapists, tantric practitioners and porn models,” Dante explained.

As an advocate for sex workers, she’s aware of far too many acts of violence against members of that community. And she speaks from personal experience.

Dante wants state lawmakers to pass a resolution declaring Dec. 17 as International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers in Pennsylvania.

For the past 14 years, people around the world have observed Dec. 17 as a day to honor the lives of sex workers lost to murder and suicide.

“My goal is to be sure no sex worker or person exploring their sexual and gender identity is forgotten, after falling victim to a violent crime leading to their death,” Dante said.

Since 2012, Dec. 17 memorial events have been held in Philadelphia, and Dante hopes the local event will grow and become more unified.

Dante said she realizes a resolution won’t end all of the problems faced by sex workers in Pennsylvania, but that it’s an important first step.

Brian Sims’ office issued this statement: “Violence in any form inflicted upon any person is reprehensible.”

Dante represents the voice the PA Workers Survivors Clearinghouse, SWOP
Behind Bars / SWOP USA in PA, and ESPU_Philly, saying of the conservative political environment she is reaching out to: “We all want the same outcome, which is to end the violence.”

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Reasons for signing

  • Because I am working to protect the rights of sex workers, especially rights to free from violence, stigma and discrimination
  • All individuals need to feel safe.
  • No civilized society can condone violence against any group.