VENICE, Calif. — The 5th annual International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers is being observed with gatherings worldwide today. In Los Angeles, the Women Alive Center will host an assembly and demonstration in commemoration of the day from 6 to 9 p.m.

The intent of the day is to call for action against the assault, battery, rape and murder of sex workers that they are prevented from reporting due to existing laws. Because of the stigma of what sex workers do, they assert that violence against them is seen as acceptable, a viewpoint only perpetuated by today's prohibitionist laws.

Conceived by porn star Annie Sprinkle and the Sex Workers Outreach Project USA (SWOP-USA), the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers began as a memorial and vigil for victims of the Green River Killer in Seattle, Washington. In a press release on the occasion, organizers mentioned a ruling by a Philadelphia judge in October that the gang rape at gunpoint of a Craigslist escort was not rape, but "theft of services."

The Women Alive Center is located at 5319 Venice Blvd., Los Angeles, Calif. 90019. To get involved with SWOP-LA, contact [email protected]