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Sex Work Digest - Issue 9

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Year: 
2014

This is the 9th issue of NSWP's quarterly newsletter ‘Sex Work Digest’. 

This special issue includes coverage of the International AIDS Conference 2014 in Melbourne.

This resource is in English.  You can download this 14 page PDF above.

Apologies that we ommitted to feature the recipients of the Robert Carr Research Award, presented at IAC 2014, in this issue.  A full article about the award recipients will appear in the next issue.  The research project Sex Work and Violence: Understanding Factors for Safety and Protection was selected as the first recipient of the award. The project is overseen by a regional steering committee that included the Centre for Advocacy on Stigma and Marginalisation , the Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UN Population Fund (UNFPA), the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), and Partners for Prevention, which is a joint UN initiative working on gender-based violence.

The research report itself is due to be launched in December 2014.

Canada's First National Study on the Sex Industry Launched

In Canada, Bill C-36, which has been roundly criticised by sex workers, looks likely to pass, in its original form.

560 civil society organisations & 86 researchers tell the European Parliament to reject a report on prostitution by Mary Honeyball

More than 560 civil society organisations and 86 researchers tell the European Parliament to reject a report on prostitution by Mary Honeyball, MEP for London, which promotes the criminalisation of clients of sex workers, in an upcoming plenary session on February 27th.

560 NGOs and civil society organisations and 786 academics and researchers have signed letters to the members of the European Parliament

Canada v. Bedford – the immediate aftermath

On 20 December 2013, the Canadian Supreme Court struck down the last of the laws that relating to sex work that sex workers’ rights campaigners have argued were unconstitutional. The Criminal Code of Canada included a number of provisions, such as ‘outlawing public communication for the purposes of prostitution’ which relates to bans on street soliciting, ‘operating a bawdy house’ or ‘living off of the avails of prostitution’ although being a sex worker was not illegal.

UNDP Summary of E-Discussion: The Global Commision on HIV and the Law

Year: 
2014

The summary discussion looks at highlights and activities that have advanced The Commission’s recommendations. The report has been widely disseminated at the national level to key policy makers with a view to persuade decision makers to promote a favourable legal framework to respond to HIV. Concrete changes in legal framework changes (in relation to sex workers and other key populations) as recommended by The Commission are however, not reported.

NSWP Statement: Proposals to Criminalise the Purchase of Sex in France

French lawmakers will vote on Wednesday (4th December) whether to implement a law that penalises the clients of sex workers. Legislators are proposing sanctions, including incremental fines and ultimately up to 6 months in prison for repeat ‘offenders’. The proposed legislation has as its basis the controversial ‘Swedish Model’ which incorrectly purports to ‘decriminalise’ sex workers whilst criminalising clients. The model attempts to ‘end demand’ for sexual services which proponents of the Swedish Model argue leads to increased violence against women and human trafficking. The proposals are ideologically driven rather than evidence-based and incorrectly views sex work through the prism of ‘violence against women’ whilst also irresponsibly conflating trafficking with sex work. The consultation process and proposals excluded the voices of current sex workers and the sex worker rights organisations that advocate for a rights-based approach to policy and legislation.

The French proposals for the criminalisation of clients is not a human rights-based response to sex work. NSWP stands in solidarity with sex workers and sex workers’ rights organisations in France in opposing these proposals to criminalise the clients of sex workers.

You can download the full statement as a 3 page PDF in English below.

HIV and the Law: Sex Workers - comprehensive findings on sex work

The Open Society Foundations (OSF) have published a report detailing the sex work findings from the Global Commission on HIV and the Law’s report HIV and the Law: Risks, Rights, and Health. The report examined where and how human rights abuses occur and how new laws, court decisions, and better legal enforcement can address the epidemic of HIV globally.

"Decriminalise consensual adult sex work!" - Human Rights Watch tells Tanzania

Tanzania should decriminalise consensual adult sex work by removing or modifying article 176(a) of the Tanzania Penal Code and 181(a) of the Zanzibar Penal Code, which criminalises sex work, as well as other laws related to sex work that may infringe on human rights, including laws on “harbouring prostitutes” and “living off the earnings of prostitution,” Human Rights Watch has said in a July 18 report.

Beyond Pimps, Procurers, and Parasites: mapping third parties in the incall/outcall sex industry

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Year: 
2013

This resource commences by quoting Ronald Weitzer, who notes "the management of prostitution is one of the most invisible aspects of the trade". It goes on to discuss common prohibitionist discourse around sex work, that situates all possible study on the topic on a continuum between deviance and violence, before highlighting that this limited binary is "diametrically opposed to much of the scholarly literature, and, more importantly, to what sex workers are asserting - namely, that sex work is work".

Canadians Await Decision by Supreme Court on Decriminalisation

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Contrary to popular misconception, sex work is legal in Canada; the act of exchanging sex for money is not a criminal offence. What is illegal are several activities fundamentally related to sex work, namely, communicating for the purposes of prostitution, (CC s. 213-1c); owning, operating, or occupying a "bawdy house" used for prostitution (CC s. 210); and procuring or living on the avails of prostitution (CC s. 212-1j). These three laws are currently being reconsidered in the Bedford v. Canada Supreme Court hearing, which took place on June 13th. 

The case began in Ontario in 2007, with three applicants: Terri-Jean Bedford, a dominatrix whose S&M dungeon was shut down in 1999 under the Bawdy House law; and two members of Sex Professionals of Canada (SPOC), Amy Lebovitch and Valerie Scott. Together, they challenged the three sections of the Federal law on the grounds that these provisions violate sex workers' right to liberty and security of person, granted under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, section 7. The Communication Law also violates sex workers' Charter right to freedom of expression, section 2b.