Regional updates: North America and the Caribbean

The North America and the Caribbean Region is made up of several country and regional networks, including a variety of organisations in Canada, the United States, and throughout the Caribbean.

Board members

Elya Durisin (Maggie's), Canada.

Cracey Annatola Fernandes, male sex worker former inmate of Guyana is an advocate for the past seven years in and out of prison and has been working with HIV+ Inmates, sex workers and  MSM.  Mr Fernandes is presently the President of the Guyana Sex Work Coalition  (GSWC), Director in Caribbean (NSWP), Executive member on Nemesis Development Association (NDA), sitting member on the Caribbean Sex Work Coalition (CSWC) and recently appointed board member of Caribbean Vulnerable Committee Coalition (CVCC).  Mr Fernandes is qualified as an HIV counselor and Peer Educator for the pass five years.  He endorses the notion that sex work is work and that sex workers rights are as equally important as those rights of others.  His passion is to be a leading advocate for legal reforms, zero tolerance on HIV/AIDS and stigma and discrimination and equality for all members or those who are assumed to be vulnerable.

 

An analysis of the implementation of PEPFAR’s anti-prostitution pledge and its implications for successful HIV prevention among organizations working with sex workers

Melissa Hope Ditmore & Dan Allman have written this analysis published in the Journal of the international AIDS Society

Abstract follows:

25th March 2013 by NSWP

Two important events in the USA in the coming months:

The 8th San Francisco Sex Workers Film and Arts Festival - 18th to 26th May 2013

Deadline for entries has been extended until 15th March 2013.

This festival provides a forum for the accomplishments of sex worker film and video makers and to screen works about sex workers and the sex industries from around the world.

See the Festival website for full details on submissions on their website.

5th National Desiree Alliance Conference (The Audacity of Health: Sex Work, Health, and Politics)
July 14th to 19th, 2013 - Las Vegas, Nevada

The 2013 Desiree Alliance conference will focus on all forms of health in our lives and in our communities. 

The deadline for proposals from presenters has been extended until 1st April 2013. Visit the Desiree Alliance website for applications and instructions. Registration information and details of the limited number of scholarships is available here.

Addtional information on both events also available at A Kiss for Gabriela.

8th March 2013 by NSWP

As reported last week colleagues in the US - BPPP, Desiree Alliance & SWOP-NYC / SWANK have made a written submission for inclusion in the annual TIP report.  The TIP report  is intended to illustrate how the United States and foreign governments comply with the “minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking in persons” that are prescribed by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000.

Their comprehensive written submission highlights how anti-trafficking policies have resulted in violence and discrimination against sex workers, the negative impact of 'end demand' approaches and how restrictions on funding (such as the 'Anti-Prostitution Loyalty Oath') hinder anti-trafficking intiatives by excluding sex worker rights projects.

You can read much more on the BPPP website here and read their full (11 page PDF) submission here.

7th March 2013 by NSWP

This briefing from the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network considers the impact of the "Swedish" or "Nordic" model on sex workers.  Examining its harmful effects, this paper argues that this approach would not withstand constitutional scrutiny in Canada.

The briefing also makes recommendations to the Canadian Parliament as follows:

  • Parliament should repeal the section of the Criminal Code that makes it an offence to communicate in a public place for the purposes of prostitution
  • Parliament should repeal the bawdy-house sections of the Criminal Code
  • Parliament should repeal the subsections of the procuring sections of the Criminal Code that relate to bawdy-houses
  • Parliament should repeal the section of the Criminal Code that makes it an offence to live on the avails of prostitution
  • Parliament should repeal the reverse-onus subsection of the Criminal Code as it applies to living on the avails of prostitution

For full details you can download this useful 6 page PDF document below.  This resource is in English.

5th February 2013 by NSWP

The Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP) exists to uphold the voice of sex workers globally and connect regional networks advocating for the rights of female, male, and transgender sex workers

NSWP condemns California's Proposition #35 on the basis that the legislation is based on a dangerous conflation of sex work and human trafficking, which fails to provide a workable approach/solution to stop forced labour and other abuse, but rather serves to heighten the criminalisation and marginalisation of sex workers and those associated with them (including their families). Proposition #35 is based on unfounded claims and a significant lack of evidence and exploits a public concern over human trafficking and slavery. The definitions that are employed by the drafters of the proposition are over-reaching and explode any distinction between sex work and human trafficking.

27th September 2012 by NSWP

Robyn Few, the co-founder of Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP) USA, died  on Thursday 13th September from cancer.  Robyn had been living with the illness for several years but continued to fight for sex worker’s rights and was instrumental in inaugurating December 17th as International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers

Read some of the many tributes to Robyn on SheWired, SWOP USA and Lalibertinesalon.

18th September 2012 by NSWP

A call to Stop the Arrests and end ongoing media harassment

Sex Workers Action Group (SWAG) Kingston (Ontario, Canada) have published an open letter to support the 9 sex workers who were arrested in Sault Ste Marie. 

A summary of the issues and the demands follows below.  For the full text of the open letter see here.

TO ADD YOUR NAME TO THE OPEN LETTER, PLEASE SIGN IN THE COMMENT SECTION ON THE SWAG WEBSITE, OR EMAIL sault.on.redumbrellacampaign@gmail.com

18th September 2012 by NSWP

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Antiviral Drugs Advisory Committee, has recommended Truvada for approval for prescription as HIV prevention for those most at risk of infection.  

12th May 2012 by NSWP

A study published in the American Journal of Public Health highlights the ‘role of safer indoor sex work environments as venues for public health and violence prevention’ and indicates the importance of removing legal barriers to supportive housing programmes.

As reported in the Vancouver Sun indoor sex workers benefit from safer working environments, less exposure to violence and reduced exposure to HIV. 

12th May 2012 by NSWP

Carol Leigh, director of the Bay Area Sex Workers Advocacy Network, explains why sex workers deserve legal rights in this article in the New York Times.

21st April 2012 by NSWP