Regional updates: North America and the Caribbean

The North America and the Caribbean Region is made up of several country and regional networks, including a variety of organisations in Canada, the United States, and throughout the Caribbean.

Board members

Elya Durisin (Maggie's), Canada.

Cracey Annatola Fernandes, male sex worker former inmate of Guyana is an advocate for the past seven years in and out of prison and has been working with HIV+ Inmates, sex workers and  MSM.  Mr Fernandes is presently the President of the Guyana Sex Work Coalition  (GSWC), Director in Caribbean (NSWP), Executive member on Nemesis Development Association (NDA), sitting member on the Caribbean Sex Work Coalition (CSWC) and recently appointed board member of Caribbean Vulnerable Committee Coalition (CVCC).  Mr Fernandes is qualified as an HIV counselor and Peer Educator for the pass five years.  He endorses the notion that sex work is work and that sex workers rights are as equally important as those rights of others.  His passion is to be a leading advocate for legal reforms, zero tolerance on HIV/AIDS and stigma and discrimination and equality for all members or those who are assumed to be vulnerable.

 

File 1372Recently, Monica Jones, a human rights defender with SWOP, was profiled and wrongfully arrested by Phoenix police because she is a transgender woman of colour.

14th March 2014 by NSWP

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.

12th February 2014 by NSWP

Sex workers in Jamaica gathered last week to demand rights, respect and dignity at a conference that received widespread press coverage around the region. Described as "members of a group that most Jamaicans may not have heard of", Television Jamaica went on to note that the Carribean Sex Workers Collective are "advocating for equal rights, and an end to stigma and discrimination". 

6th September 2013 by NSWP

The Caribbean Sex Workers Coalition (CSWC), a regional collective of sex worker-led civil society organisations and sex worker advocates, is calling on Caribbean states to end discrimination against sex workers, recognise transgender people and create laws to protect sex workers from stigma and discrimination.

2nd September 2013 by NSWP

Sex workers and sex worker rights advocates are speaking out with mounting concern in British Columbia, Canada, after two indoor sex workers were found dead in the same apartment block, two weeks apart. The women were called Jill Lyons and Karen Nabors.

28th August 2013 by NSWP

File 1207


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. 

2nd July 2013 by NSWP

File 1168

On June 20, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 6-2 decision in Agency for International Development v. Alliance for Open Society International, Inc. that the Policy Requirement of the Anti-Prostitution Loyalty Oath, from the U.S. Leadership Act of 2003, violates the First Amendment, and is therefore unconstitutional.
 
A partial victory for the sex worker movement, it unfortunately makes no stated distinction between sex work and human trafficking, and it is not a defence of sex worker rights. However, this ruling may decrease stigma around sex work, by allowing organisations in the United States that receive PEPFAR funding to publically adopt a neutral stance towards sex work, and focus on implementing best practices for public health aims. 

21st June 2013 by NSWP

San Francisco police will no longer use condoms as evidence when arresting and charging sex workers, according to an announcement by law enforcement agencies and the Human Rights Commission.

This announcement follows a six-month trial moratorium period in which condoms were not used as evidence in cases.

Read the full article in the San Francisco Examiner.
2nd May 2013 by NSWP

Press statement from Maggie's, Stella and POWER.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE. Le français suivra...

May 2, 2013 -- Supreme Court Justice Richard Wagner has denied several prominent sex worker groups the opportunity to intervene in the Bedford v. Canada appeal, to be heard at the Supreme Court of Canada on June 13th, 2013. 

The constitutional challenge to the prostitution laws could strike down laws that have documented direct and negative impact on the lives and working conditions of sex workers, bosses, security people and other third parties as well as the lives of sex workers’ clients and partners.

2nd May 2013 by NSWP

NSWP has received short term funding from the Robert Carr Civil Society Network Fund (RCNF) to support our regional networks in identifying and documenting good practice in sex worker led HIV programming; sex workers access to treatment and the impact of free trade agreements; and the impact of HIV programming for sex workers that fails to reflect a rights based approach.

DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS:  Friday, 12 April 2013 @ 24.00.

26th March 2013 by NSWP