When Canada’s Justice Minister Peter MacKay presented the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act (the Conservative Government’s new plan for legislating on sex work, implemented late last year), he presented, as a major selling point, the promise of providing funds to people in the sex trades who wish to exit the industry.
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Last year, on 25th June, the San Francisco-based advertising/community website MyRedbook, which featured free listings and discussions forums for sex workers; a review section, and a bad date list, was shut down and seized by the Federal Bureau of Investigations. Two employees were arrested and last week one was sentenced to 13 months in jail. Eric Omuro had entered a guilty plea, admitting that from 2010 to 2014 he owned and ran MyRedbook.com with the intent to facilitate prostitution.
Tom Meagher, the husband of raped and murdered Australian-based Irish national, Jill Meagher, has been criticised by Melbourne street-based sex workers for his involvement in the recently launched 'Prostitution- We Don’t Buy It' campaign.
In April 2015, a Sydney based sex worker identifying as Tilly Lawless, instigated an online campaign to counter the myths surrounding sex work.
On 25 April, 2015, Nepal was subject to an earthquake reported to be 8.1 magnitude.
From 1st June, 2015 a new law in Northern Ireland criminalising the purchase of sex will come into effect. This will make Northern Ireland the only region of the United Kingdom to adopt the Nordic model, after a similar bill failed to pass in Scotland in 2013.
The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (JVTA) a piece of bipartisan anti-trafficking legislation that has been criticised for its prioritisation of law enforcement, passed the US House of Representatives by 420 votes to three on 19th of May. The legislation will now head to President Obama’s desk to be signed into law.
At a time of increased global repression and the attempted silencing of progressive voices, the AWID 2016 Forum is a space for re-imagining and co-creation. The Forum will be taking place in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil from May 5th until May 8th 2016.
AWID invites those who believe in futures free from gendered oppressions, the realisation of full rights for people and planet, and self-determination from the body to the nation.
In 2013, UNFPA published ‘Implementing Comprehensive HIV/STI Programmes with Sex Workers: Practical Approaches from Collaborative Interventions’ or the SWIT. The resource was authored by the World Health Organization, in collaboration with UNFPA, UNAIDS, NSWP and the World Bank. It is a comprehensive global tool aiming to offer guidance on how to implement the WHO’s 2012 recommendations on HIV and Sex Work.
In Ottawa, Canada late last month police raided 20 massage and body rub parlours in a three-day long bust that they claimed was part of a human trafficking investigation. While no criminal charges were made, last week Ottawa police announced that 11 women will be deported as a result of the raids.
Sex worker groups have spoken up against the decision to issue removal orders for the 11 women, saying that undocumented workers in Canada are more vulnerable to violence and are far less likely to come forward as witnesses to report crime if they fear deportation.
Turkish advocates have been calling for recognition of a spate of violence against trans women in the country. Over the space of two weeks, seven trans women were violently attacked in different cities around Turkey. On the 2nd of May four trans women were reported to have been attacked, including a trans sex worker named Gülşen who was stabbed in her home in Şişli by two men with a knife and skewer. Reports say that the men were known to her as previous clients.
At the beginning of this month Honolulu police arrested more than a dozen sex working women over a weekend. Instead of charging the women with prostitution – a misdemeanor that carries a maximum 30-day jail sentence – they were instead charged with sexual assault in the fourth degree. If convicted, the women would have to register as sex offenders.
Honolulu police spokeswoman Michelle Yu said, in a statement, that the police operation was prompted by public complaints.
Transgender Europe’s Trans Murder Monitoring project (TMM) has just published a report in advance of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT), which will be marked on the 17th of May 2015. The report details a total of 1,731 cases of reported killings of trans and gender-diverse people from January 1st 2008 to December 31st 2014 in all regions of the world. Analysis of the data shows that 65 percent of all murdered trans and gender-diverse people (whose profession was known) were sex workers.
Geneva–Representatives of U.S.-based sex worker rights organisations are in Geneva, Switzerland, meeting with members of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC), and advocating for greater human rights protections. The HRC will hold its quadrennial Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the U.S.’ human rights record on May 11th at 9am (3am EST), at the U.N. in Geneva. The UPR is a peer-based review process, through which the human rights record of each member state of the U.N.
NSWP is seeking to recruit a consultant to create a briefing paper that addresses the needs and values of sex worker communities in creating safe and secure use of data and population estimates, and which will highlight the issues and harms associated with mapping sex workers and using unique identifier codes. NSWP will consider applications from individuals (and teams) interested in working as consultant/s (based in or outside of the UK).
The Global Fund partnership has launched a human rights complaints procedure as part of its commitment to protect and promote human rights in the context of fighting AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
Earlier this month, there was news from Spain’s Catalonia region that, prior to the municipal elections that will take place in late May and the regional elections in September, a new group had been established to lobby candidates on behalf of sex workers.
Maggie de Vries on this TED Talk exposes her own life story in order to expose the stigma and discrimination around sex work.
Maggie remarks on how she had to come to terms with the life that her sister Sarah lived.
The Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP) is currently inviting individuals with a commitment to promoting the health and human rights of sex workers to apply to volunteer with the communications and information management team. 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. It advocates for rights based health and social services, freedom from abuse and discrimination, and self-determination for sex workers.
The Open Society Foundations have released an updated version of their 2012 brief "10 Reasons to Decriminalize Sex Work". The brief has been updated to reflect the most relevant arguments, and the latest news and evidence, that suggest the decriminalisation of sex work is the policy that best protects the rights, health, and safety of sex workers.
In yet another conflation of sex work and human trafficking, the Canadian province of Saskatchewan will no longer allow licensed strip clubs because of concerns about “human trafficking and sexual exploitation.”
The Premier of Saskatchewan, Brad Wall announced last month that his government would reverse its decision to allow licensed strip clubs because of concerns about human trafficking and sexual exploitation.
At a meeting in St. Lucia earlier this month, NSWP member group, the Caribbean Sex Work Coalition (CSWC) was invited by the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS, which is made up of Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, British Virgin Islands, Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines) to be part of a Regional Coordinating Mechanism.
A report for Edinburgh council’s health and social care committee has found that the city’s sex workers are facing increased health risks following a police crackdown on saunas.