Regional updates: North America and the Caribbean

The Associated Press (the world’s largest newsgathering organisation, based in New York City) is accepting suggestions for the 2015 version of its stylebook, a writing style guide for journalists. The stylebook is updated annually to reflect changes in writing style and new guidelines, and this year sex worker activists are urging the organisation to drop “prostitute” in favor of the preferred “sex worker.”

21st October 2014 by NSWP

After nine years of organising, the joint efforts of NSWP member groups Best Practices Policy Best Practices Policy Project and HIPS, together with groups including Casa Ruby and the DC Trans Coalition have succeeded in having the District of Columbia’s “Prostitution Free Zone” policy overturned.

16th October 2014 by NSWP

Launched in September 2013, New York’s Human Trafficking Courts (HTICs) are the first statewide human trafficking intervention within a justice system in the United States. The courts function as a “diversion” programme by connecting those arrested for prostitution to mandated social services rather than incarceration. Defendants who complete a mandated programme can have their case dismissed and sealed, provided that they are not rearrested within six months.

2nd October 2014 by NSWP

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

29th September 2014 by NSWP

Last week, California’s Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 336,legislation requiring district attorneys to get a court’s permission to use possession of more than one condom as potential evidence of prostitution. It will go into effect on January 1st, 2015.

25th September 2014 by NSWP

In an unusual case of strong sentencing, a 23-year-old man, Damique Fennell, who led the attack and robbery of a 27-year-old transgender sex worker in New York City was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

“Several decades ago”, said District Attorney Cy Vance in a press release, “a case like this one may not have gone to trial, but today’s sentencing and the convictions of these defendants represent a significant step towards obtaining justice for all crime victims, regardless of background.”

15th September 2014 by NSWP

As the Canadian government rushes to push through Federal Bill C-36, their proposed new sex work legislation, before their December deadline, the Senate's legal and constitutional affairs committee will be meeting on Tuesday, September 9th to discuss it.

8th September 2014 by NSWP
NSWP, The Global Network of Sex Work Projects, heralded the decision made by the Canadian Supreme Court in December 2013 to strike down laws related to sex work that were recognised to be unconstitutional and in violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The striking down of provisions that restricted sex workers’ ability to implement crucial security strategies in their work was seen by NSWP members and allies around the world as a significant step forward in advancing the health and human rights of sex workers in Canada.
5th September 2014 by NSWP

In the months since the Canadian government introduced its proposal for new legislation around sex work, Justice Minister Peter MacKay has been touring the country, holding closed-door meetings with what his department calls “criminal justice system stakeholders.” While the exact identity of those consulted remains unclear, one thing is likely: none of them were sex workers, the very people the government’s

29th August 2014 by NSWP

Recently, VICE News posted a short documentary called “Young and Gay: Jamaica’s Gully Queens.” The film introduces viewers to the lives of LGBT youth who, having been forced from their homes or rejected by their families, live in an underground Kingston Town storm shelter, known locally as a “gully.”

25th August 2014 by NSWP