Dr. Kamala Kempadoo made local news in Barbados after calling for the decriminalisation of sex work in the Caribbean.
Regional updates: North America and the Caribbean
An Oklahoma sex worker has pleaded guilty to charges after being caught on camera by a vigilante’s drone camera. NSWP has chosen not to reproduce the sex worker’s name to reduce the harm of media visibility in her case. She has been sentenced to one year in state prison for the misdemeanor charge. Her alleged client’s case remains pending.
An Oklahoma City resident has made it his personal mission to surveil sex workers and post the footage on his website and YouTube Channel. In this case, he also sent the footage to the police.
Escort advertising website Backpage.com won an appeal on the 14th of March, 2016. The ruling states that Backpage is not responsible for any trafficking that may happen because of the advertisements on their website.
A new theatre production called "The Hooker Monologues" premiered in Vancouver on Thursday the 10th of March. The play brings together ten current and former sex workers to perform stories based on their experiences in the industry. It is directed by Canadian theatre director Mindy Parfitt.
The US government has dropped criminal charges against six Rentboy.com employees, it was announced Wednesday. The news comes a week after Rentboy.com CEO Jeffery Hurant plead not guilty to charges.
Asian sex worker Tammy Le was found dead on the 23rd of January in an apparent murder, according to NSWP member organisation Butterfly – Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Support Network. Her death is the latest in a series of murders of Asian sex workers over the past two years in the Hamilton and Mississauga region of Ontario, Canada. The previous two victims were Jiali Zhang in 2013 and Evelyn Bumatay Castillo in 2014.
In a December press release, a Florida Sheriff released the names and personal information of 50 sex workers, four of whom were identified as trans. The arrests were part of a sting called “Operation Naughty Not Nice,” which brought together multiple law enforcement agencies in Florida. Fifty sex workers were charged, along with 33 clients and 12 others. Sheriff Grady Judd issued a press release with their names and personal information, including date of birth and places of work.
Newly appointed Federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould has set her sights on repealing Canada’s anti-sex work laws. Maclean’s reports that Canada’s new anti-sex work laws are one of three major priorities for the Minister. The law is called the Protecting Communities and Exploited Persons Act (PCEPA). It came into effect in December 2014 as a result of the Supreme Court’s Bedford decision.
NSWP member organisation SWOP USA launched a campaign to end PEPFAR’s “anti-prostitution loyalty oath,” in November. The campaign is in collaboration with SWOP Philadelphia, New Jersey Red Umbrella Alliance, Desiree Alliance, and Best Practices Policy Project. All are NSWP member organisations. PEPFAR stands for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. It is a United States funder that provides money for local and international projects aimed at reducing HIV transmission. PEPFAR is one of the largest global funders of HIV prevention money, with a budget of $6.73 billion as of 2014.
Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer failed to appear in a US Congressional Hearing on November 19th. Ferrer may face contempt charges as a result. “Definance of a congressional subpoena is rare and it’s serious,” said Senator Rob Portman. Portman and Senator Claire McCaskill are leading a subcommittee investigation into Backpage’s supposed involvement in ‘sex trafficking’.