NSWP member organisation Project X have urged people to “scrutinise and seriously question the visual representation of sex workers in Singaporean mainstream media.” The call comes following several high profile raids on sex workers' workplaces in recent months, and subsequent stigmatising media coverage of the events. In a post on their Facebook page, Project X describe the media coverage as a “method of shaming” which “not only dehumanises the women in question, it also turns the matter into a one-sided conversation in which sex workers are ridiculed, talked about and talked at.”
Regional updates: Asia and the Pacific
The building at the entrance to Melbourne University, Australia, will no longer bear the name of its condemned former head of anatomy, and Dean of Medicine, Richard Berry. Berry actively lobbied for the "sterilisation, segregation and the lethal chamber" of sex workers, Indigenous peoples, and other marginalised people who he claimed to be of "rotten heredity." The renaming of the building is the result of long-standing campaign by a group of staff and students.
Karnataka Sex Workers Union held protests and spoke out about recent attempts to conduct invasive unethical research on sex workers, without proper community involvement. In a press release issued on 18 March, 2017 entitled “Sex Workers don’t need sympathy! Sex workers need workers rights!!” the Union spoke about the various ways the research report in question “violates research methodologies, research ethics and several national and international protocols/guidelines.”
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.