One hundred and twenty-five migrants were arrested in raids on New Year's Eve in Indonesia. The raid on Sun City nightclub in West Jakarta saw 76 Chinese women arrested. An additional 49 migrants were also arrested during similar operations, with individuals coming from various countries such as Australia, Hong Kong, India, Papua New Guinea, France and Italy.
Regional updates: Asia and the Pacific
Hundreds of sex workers were detained in raids conducted in three nightclubs in Beijing on 23 December 2016. Days later, on 25 December, Beijing police shared details of the raids on popular Chinese social media platform, Weibo. The police gave details of the location of the raids: Dongcheng in the east of Beijing and Haidan in the north west.
A recent announcement which has seen two highest value bank notes in India (Rs 500 and Rs 1000) demonetised has had wide reaching impacts on many communities. Demonesation means the bank notes are no longer legal to use.
The Philippine Sex Workers Collective is speaking out against human rights violations against sex workers and drug users. In a statement on their website published on 27 October, the collective explains how oppression against drug users is similar to oppression against sex workers and it is important to stand in solidarity with anyone whose rights are violated.
On the 18 of October, COSWAS, sex workers and allies held a protest outside the Taipei City Government. Protesters asked for the decriminalisation of sex work, for an end to illegal entrapment practices targeting sex workers, and for the government to stop ignoring sex workers. They are asking for safe and legal places to work.
The Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers (APNSW) facilitated a 3-day training in Kathmandu, Nepal from the 21-23 of September. Twenty-three male, female, and transgender sex workers from attended the workshop across the nation. Sex worker participants represented JMMS, Nepal’s National Federation of Female Sex Workers; and Blue Diamond Society, Nepal’s national GLBTIQ representative network.
Khwaja sara (also known as Hijra, third gender or transgender) sex workers in Pakistan experience stigma, discrimination and criminalisation, as well as lack of rights and access to healthcare.
Gulmakai, a khwaja sara sex worker, says hostility towards khwaja saras is "embedded at every level, from every day affairs to the government". Sex work is an occupation in which khwaja saras are able to make a living, unlike many other industries which continue to heavily discriminate and exclude member of her community.
The Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers (APNSW) in collaboration with the HIV/AIDS Research and Welfare Centre (HARC) organised a 3-day training from the 4-6 September 2016 the on Sex Workers Implementation Tool (SWIT). A total of 25 sex workers from various cities across Bangladesh participated in the training.
‘This is Us” a museum in Thailand dedicated to documenting the lives and history of sex work is set to open to the public later this month. The museum is run by sex worker-led organisation Empower Foundation. Although the museum has existed for years, previously it was only open for private visits booked in advance.
A new report by Asia Catalyst has brought attention to the impact of laws and policing on sex workers in China. Released on the 25th of July, The Condom Quandary: A Survey of the Impact of Law Enforcement Practices on Effective HIV Prevention among Male, Female, and Transgender Sex Workers in China highlights the severe and widespread impact of using condoms as evidence of sex work on sex workers. Drawing on the experiences of the 517 sex workers involved in the research, the report urges that sex work be decriminalised and that sex workers be properly consulted and recognised as key stakeholders in laws and policies concerning sex workers.