Dancers in Mumbai are apprehensive about new laws that passed on the 13th of April 2016. The new laws have stringent conditions that limit dancers’ ability to earn a decent wage. The new laws do not address many of the concerns that Bar Dancers have raised.
Regional updates: Asia and the Pacific
The Australian State Government of New South Wales has continued its support for decriminalisation. Sex workers were concerned the inquiry into brothel regulation that begun in 2015 could have resulted in the introduction of a licensing framework and/or a specialised police squad for the sex industry. These measures would end decriminalisation, despite its documented success since it was introduced in 1995.
HIV/AIDS Research and Welfare Centre (HARC) organised a three-day workshop for sex workers in Bangladesh from the 17th to 19th of April, 2016. A total of thirty-nine sex workers took part in the workshop in Rajshahi, a city in northwest Bangladesh close to the border with India. APNSW Regional Coordinator Kay Thi Win, and Consultant Habib Rahman facilitated the workshop.
Empower Thailand and the Thai Embassy in Sweden have both issued statements in response to the Swedish magazine OTTAR. On the 3rd of March 2016, OTTAR published an interview with Kasja Ekis Ekman, which referred to Thai sex workers as “cheap pussy.”
A session called “Reclaiming Rights: Sex Workers Speak” was held on the first day of the 12th International Conference on AIDS in the Asia Pacific (ICAAP) in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The conference ran from the 12 -14 of March.
Sex Workers in West Bengal are using the upcoming election to remind politicians they need to keep their promises. Sex workers may exercise the ‘none of the above option’ (NOTA) on ballots to tell politicians that they are not happy with them. Many politicians have not shown commitment to taking action on the demands of sex worker-led organisations, as reported by The Statesman.
Members from five Pacific countries met with the APNSW Secretariat in November 2015. Representatives from Friends Frangipani (Papua New Guinea), New Zealand Prostitutes Collective (NZPC), Survivors Advocacy Network (SAN-Fiji), Scarlet Alliance (Australia) and $carlet Timor Collective (Timor-Leste) took part in the meeting in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Yesterday, the Constitutional Court in South Korea ruled 6 to 3 to reject a petition to overturn the ‘Anti-Sex Trade Laws’. The laws state that anyone found guilty of buying or selling sex will face up to one year in prison or be fined up to 3 million Won (approximately 2,300 EURO or 2,600 USD).
On the 3rd of March, International Sex Worker's Rights Day, sex workers across India gathered to ask that their human rights be respected.
Members of the All India Network of Sex Workers asked for understanding and respect of sex workers from government and civil society. Their campaign called for workers’ rights, a society free from discrimination and violence, an understanding of the difference between trafficking and sex work, inclusion in policy making processes and the decriminalisation of sex work.
On the 29th of February 2016, five thousand police, army and local security were sent with bulldozers to demolish the area known as Kalijodo in Jakarta.
Kalijodo was known as one of the city’s oldest red-light districts. There were over three thousand residents evicted prior to demolition. There were over 300 sex workers working in Kalijodo, and almost half of the residents also worked in the area.