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Introduction

The International AIDS Conference is the largest conference on any global health or development issue in the world. It continues to provide a unique forum for the intersection of science, advocacy, and human rights. The 22nd International AIDS Conference (AIDS2018) will be hosted in Amsterdam, Netherlands, 23-27 July 2018.

NSWP and our members are promoting meaningful participation and visibility of sex workers at AIDS2018. NSWP encourages sex worker-led organisations to get involved with the range of events at AIDS2018. This document covers the ways sex workers can get involved.

Posted 7 December 2017 by NSWP

A Member of Parliament in Malawi, Frank Mwenifumbo, has urged the government to legalise sex work and ensure there are different support systems around it. The MP claimed a lot of people in the country rely on the sex trade. “We see young ladies and young men standing along our streets for this purpose. Why can we not legalise it? We are in denial and yet it is there in the open that we have people depending on commercial sex” he said.

Posted 14 December 2017 by NSWP

A member of County Assembly for a ward in Nairobi has put forward a motion prohibiting commercial sex in the city, which was passed by a vote on Friday 1st December.

Posted 12 December 2017 by NSWP

A new sex worker-led organisation is taking its first steps in Mexico. In only four months they have held several important activities, including joining RedTraSex as members.

Posted 11 December 2017 by NSWP

Every year on 1st December the world marks World AIDS Day. Globally sex workers are disproportionately affected by HIV, with UNAIDS estimating prevalence among sex workers as twelve times greater than the general population. This year, SWAN (Sex Workers' Rights Advocacy Network) together with ICRSE (International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe) issued a joint statement for World AIDS Day, and SWAN members marked the day with various different events.

Posted 7 December 2017 by NSWP

A man has been sentenced to 3 years in prison after a Singaporean court found that he paid a migrant sex worker using counterfeit notes that he made himself at home. In October 2017, Daniel Wong was convicted on two charges of counterfeiting and using the home-printed S$100 counterfeit notes. He was handed a 3-year sentence, though each charge was punishable by a maximum of 20 years in prison.

Posted 23 November 2017 by NSWP

Three months ago, attorney and Columbian legislator Clara Leticia Rojas González (known as Clara Rojas), began campaigning for new legislation which would fine people who pay for sex with up to $23,000,000 Colombian pesos (around $7,500 US dollars). This proposal has been strongly condemned by Colombian sex workers, activists and academics.

Posted 16 November 2017 by NSWP

The Sex Workers Academy Africa (SWAA) has held its fifteenth session, with eighteen activists from different countries graduating at a ceremony held in Nairobi in October 2017.

Posted 15 November 2017 by NSWP

In their concluding observations to Russia’s sixth periodic review produced on 6 October 2017, the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) recommended that Russia decriminalise sex work. This recommendation was the result of advocacy by NSWP member Silver Rose, a sex worker organisation in St. Petersburg.

Posted 9 November 2017 by NSWP

A spa and sauna house used by gay men in Jakarta has become the latest target of an ongoing police crackdown against sex workers and the LGBT community in Indonesia. On 6 October 2017, 51 men were arrested and detained, with media reporting that some could face up to six years in prison under pornography and sex work laws.

Posted 19 October 2017 by NSWP

In June 2017, Nicaragua became the third country in Central America to have a sex workers’ union recognised by the Ministry of Labour, after Colombia and Guatemala. In Nicaragua, the sex workers’ union is attached to the Confederation of Self-Employed Workers.

Posted 19 October 2017 by NSWP

Agape International Missions (AIM), a US-based charity that operates brothel raids and ‘rehabilitation’ programmes in Cambodia, was almost forced to leave Cambodia and cease operations this summer, after a CNN news report on trafficking that featured AIM angered Cambodian citizens and high-level government officials, including the Prime Minister.

The news report, “Life after trafficking: The Cambodian girls sold for sex by their mothers,” originally released on 22 July 2017, quickly drew criticism from the public and Cambodian government for misrepresenting the problem of trafficking in Cambodia, and defaming Cambodian women and mothers in general to raise funds.

Posted 13 October 2017 by NSWP

Forty-four Ugandan sex workers were arrested on 14 July, 2017 in Abayita, at a crisis meeting organised in response to a series of brutal murders in the Abayita, Katabi, Nkumba and Nansana areas of Uganda. A report by the Uganda Minister of Internal Affairs indicates that at least 21 women were found brutally murdered between 3 May and 4 September of this year.  Many of these women were raped before being killed and had sticks inserted into their genitals. The victims were usually dumped in deserted locations close to their places of residence. Inspector General of the Uganda Police Force Kale Kayihura has reported that the majority of the victims were sex workers.

Posted 9 October 2017 by NSWP

On 27 - 29 June 2017, NSWP members All-Ukrainian Charitable Organization Legalife-Ukraine and Tais Plus (Kyrgyzstan) took part in a meeting of sex worker-led organisations in Amsterdam. The meeting was organised by Aidsfonds. Sex workers from 11 countries attended, including participants from Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Indonesia, Vietnam, South Africa, Nigeria, Myanmar and the Netherlands.

Posted 28 August 2017 by NSWP

A Swedish NGO, Love and Hope (formerly LoveNepal) in Nepal collected donations from Swedish people based on false claims of “saving children from brothels” and posting photographs on social media of three girls they claimed to be sex workers.

Posted 28 August 2017 by NSWP

The Sexual Rights Centre (SRC), an organisation that provides health services to sex workers in Zimbabwe filed an application at the Bulawayo High Court. They were seeking an order to compel Home Affairs minister Igantius Chombo to stop interfering with the sex workers' awareness march. The march was meant to raise awareness around increasing violence against sex workers in Zimbabwe. The application was dismissed by the courts on 6 July 2017. The march was meant to occur in December 2015, but still remains banned.

Posted 28 August 2017 by NSWP

Twelve sex workers escaped from Ujjwala House in Hyderabad India, where they had been detained for months following a raid on their workplaces. Thirty-two women are housed in the so called shelter, which claims to "rehabilitate" and "rescue" sex workers.

Posted 14 August 2017 by NSWP

It has been almost two years since the offices of Rentboy were raided by the New York Police Department and the Department of Homeland Security on 25 August, 2015. Six employees were arrested alongside CEO Jeffrey Hurant, but changes against every except Hurant were dropped after a the case became the subject of national attention with condemnation coming from LGBT and Human Rights organisations such as Lambda Legal, the ACLU, and Human Rights Watch. 

Posted 10 August 2017 by NSWP

In November 2017, the National Party Congress for the Chinese Communist Party may put pressure on the Chinese President, Xi Jinping to shutdown popular media platforms. While the current President is predicted to be re-elected for another five-year term, the crackdown on content on social media, as well as internet users ability to hide their identity from the government through VPN (Virtual Private Network) connections is in line with previous approaches and responses taken by his government.

Posted 10 August 2017 by NSWP

On 25 May, 2017, NSWP members Red Umbrella Athens (Greece) and Hellenic Association of People Living with HIV “Positive Voice” organised a conference on policy issues regarding sex work in Greece. It was very successful. It was the first time this topic was discussed by representatives from the government, political parties, civil society, sex workers and the scientific community.

Posted 10 August 2017 by NSWP

The Global Fund is leaving Macedonia this year in June. It means that most of the services will be closed or reduced to a minimum if the government does not provide financial support. NSWP member Healthy Options Project Skopje (HOPS) started a campaign for securing sustainability of harm reduction programmes in Macedonia through various activities including a petition, meetings with Ministry of Health, press conferences, social media campaign, a video. The key focus is harm reduction programmes for people who use drugs, but they also include sex workers, MSM, and PLWHA.

Posted 3 August 2017 by NSWP

Spokespeople from the Usha Multipurpose Cooperative Society, a cooperative bank run by sex workers in India, have told media how the introduction of an 18 percent GST (Goods and Services Tax) on sanitary napkins in India will negatively impact their community.

Posted 3 August 2017 by NSWP

Sex work is illegal in South Africa. Sex work is criminalised in the Criminal Code, and municipal by-laws also contain provisions that prohibit sex work such as “importuning any person for the purpose of prostitution” and “soliciting”. Sex workers have very little legal protection.

Posted 3 August 2017 by NSWP

NSWP Member Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition (CVC), a working group of organisations and leaders advocating for populations affected by HIV, launched an online database this month. The Shared Information Database

Posted 3 August 2017 by NSWP

In the state of Alaska in the United States, a legal battle over the right of police officers to engage in sexual conduct with sex workers before arresting them is bringing public attention to a national issue. Two bills HB112/SB73 introduced earlier this year would add an addendum to expand the definition of sexual assault to include instances of “peace officers” engaging in sexual conduct or penetration with a perpetrator that they are in the process of investigating.

Posted 12 July 2017 by NSWP