Who do you work with?:
We work with all sex workers of all gender identities, women, men, transgenders, bisexuals, and lesbians who are engaged in any of the forms of sex work in the sex industry. They may either be street sex workers, sex workers who work in establishments, escorts, porn stars, strippers or work online behind webcams etc.
How are sex workers involved in your organisation?:
The Philippine Sex Workers Collective is a network of sex worker led organisations. As such, all the activities of the network are planned by sex workers, implemented by sex workers, monitored and evaluated by sex workers. All projects and activities take their direction from what the Collective believes as the most oppressed and disadvantaged among sex workers, the women sex workers.
Which of NSWP priority areas does your organisation work on?:
Oppose the criminalisation and other legal oppression of sex work and support its recognition as work
Critique the trafficking paradigm that conflates representations of sex work, migration, and mobility
Advocate for universal access to health services, including primary health care, HIV and sexual and reproductive health services
Speak out about violence against sex workers, including violence from police, institutions, clients, and intimate partners, while challenging the myth that sex work is inherently gender-based violence
Oppose human rights abuses, including coercive programming, mandatory testing, raids and forced rehabilitation
Challenge stigma and discrimination against sex workers, their families and partners, and others involved in sex work
Advocate for the economic empowerment and social inclusion of sex workers as sex workers
What are the two main challenges that the sex workers you work with face:
The two most major challenges that we as sex workers face are: 1. Discrimination and stigma - Stigma has led us to live an anonymous life. It has forced us to hide behind false identities thus rendering us invisible. In the process of living a hidden life, we have lost our voice. Not just lost our voice, others have taken on the right to speak for us. With the Collective, we hope to get our voice back and be visible. 2. The criminalisation of sex work - We are currently campaigning for sex work decriminalisation.
Describe other areas of your work:
Our major work is focused on our campaign for the decriminalisation of sex work. But we are also trying to address other concerns of our sex worker community which is as important, among them our health concerns. We want to evolve a health programme for sex workers that is sex worker lead and holistic in approach covering both HIV and AIDS and reproductive health. Currently, sex workers are not involved in the planning and implementation of HIV-AIDS programme in the country. We want to change that. We also want to work on exit strategies responsive to the needs of sex workers who may want to leave the trade.