I spent the evening in the freezing cold with some wonderful people from the International Union of Sex Workers. To mark 'International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers', they had decided to come up to Bradford to hold a vigil, as well as holding a larger event in London. Bradford was chosen because of the horrendous events of the past year, with Stephen Griffiths awaiting trial over the murder of three sex workers in the area.
We carried distinctive red umbrellas, the symbol of the international sex workers' rights movement. Red for strength and pride, and an umbrella to symbolise protection from the elements and from prejudice, discrimination and abuse.
This remarkable movement, organised and run by sex workers themselves, is testament to the human capacity to love and unite with one another even in the most hostile of political and social situations. Sex workers are often the victim of violence because they have so little protection, and there is so little political capital in protecting their rights.
I have always been a fan of the I.U.S.W, ever since joining them on some stunning May Day demo's down in London. Colourful and creative, and determined in the face of indifference or aggression, they are a model for a liberated church.