Regional updates: Asia and the Pacific
Sex workers in South Korea are fighting an eviction project supported by a local council. This project will push sex workers out of their work places. It has been reported that Cheongnyangni is now being targeted as part of a “long-term trend in which visible signs of vice are being scrubbed from the capitals streets ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, a mountainous area a few hours northeast of Seoul.” Sex workers in various countries have often be targeted in so called ‘city clean ups’ by governments hosting Olympic Games.
In the wake of several human rights officials being denied entry to West Papua, The UN Special Rapporteur for Health, Dainius Puras’, officially visited West Papua last week. Human Rights Watch notes, “Indigenous sex workers in West Papua are being impacted by a HIV epidemic and lack of adequate healthcare amidst wider systematic denials of human rights and violence perpetrated by the Indonesian military and mining companies.”
Hanteo National Union (HNU), a sex workers right’s orgnaisation in Korea told the Korea Times that sex workers plan to protest if the government pushes ahead with plans to shut down their workplaces.
VNExpress has reported that authorities in Hanoi, Vietnam are planning their ‘biggest crackdown ever’ for 2017. The city is aiming to meet a quota of 500 charges this year. They want to avoid repeat offenders being charged and provide financial assistance to help sex workers find new jobs.
There have been calls for systematic change, accountability and justice to be served following the death of a sex worker who was pursued in a crackdown in Daun Penh, Cambodia. Several international non-governmetal organisations (NGOs), including human rights organisations and advocacy groups for sex workers have demanded that the Cambodian government decriminalise sex work to protect the rights of sex workers.
San Fiji’s Sesenieli Naitala (Bui) has been recognised for her significant achievements and commitment to fighting for the rights of sex workers and other communities facing discrimination. She received a community activist award on International Human Rights Day in December 2016. As Shirley Tagi, the 'DIVA for Equality' Coordinator explained, "Sesenieli Naitala, also known by many as Bui, has been a human rights activist for LGBTI and sex worker rights in Fiji for decades.
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.
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.