Every year the Changing Lives GAP MAP service, together with Brunswick Church in Newcastle and in partnership with other organisations, host a church service for International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers. This year's event was held on Thursday 15th December.
Clients of Changing Lives’ GAP MAP service and partner organisations marched down Newcastle city centre’s main high street with red umbrellas to raise awareness of violence exposed to sex workers and those who are targeted for the purposes of sexual exploitation before the church service. Badges with red umbrellas printed on them were handed out to people, with details of how to contact GAP MAP and to raise awareness for the day.
The march ended at Brunswick Church, which is where the annual service was held.
Staff from the services said,
“It’s a very special time of year for our services. It’s important for them to have this protected space, as well as practitioners being able to reflect on the challenging work they deliver.”
The annual service is always client-led and is for anyone who has suffered violence when doing sex work, or has been sexually exploited, or knows somebody who has.
Candles were lit in memory of loved ones who have been affected by the issue and sadly passed away this year. There was also music and poetry shared from current clients, and a presentation of art work and images from the last year focusing on positive experiences was viewed.