In an effort to network, build solidarity, increase understanding and contribute towards greater tolerance between the Singaporean sex worker and Muslim communities, Project X, Singapore’s sex worker advocacy network, invited a prominent Muslim speaker, Mr. Mohamed Imran, to a weekly sex worker discussion group, Kopi Session.
NSWP has mobilised in support of Amnesty International following the recent backlash against Amnesty International’s Resolution and draft policy calling for the decriminalisation of sex work, which is tabled for adoption at their International Council Meeting, 6-11th August 2015.
The Amnesty International resolution ‘REQUESTS the International Board adopt a policy that seeks attainment of the highest possible protection of the human rights of sex workers, through measures that include the decriminalisation of sex work’.
In mid-July, a 20 year-old transgender sex worker was shot dead in Georgetown, Guyana, apparently following an altercation with a client, which, some reports say, may have been a case of mistaken identity.
Australian sex workers in the state of Victoria have formalised the program for the 2015 Festival of Sex Work.
Australian sex worker network and NSWP member Scarlet Alliance published their report: ‘Stepping up to the evidence on HIV and Sex Work: Decriminalise Sex Work Now! Sex Workers at AIDS 2014’ last week. This much anticipated report demonstrates the strong sex worker presence at the 20th International AIDS Conference - AIDS 2014 in Melbourne, July 2014.
The online classified web site Backpage.com, long used by sex workers as a low-cost means of advertising their services and screening clients, has announced that it is allowing users to post ads for free to the adult services section of its site.
In April 2015, the Open Society Foundations convened a meeting of experts and advocates concerned about the future of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, particularly in the areas of preserving support to important programs in middle-income countries.
The Red Umbrella Fund gives grants to sex worker-led groups and networks that are registered or unregistered. In 2015, we expect to make about 12 core funding grants to local and national sex worker-led organisations and networks. The Red Umbrella Fund is the first global fund guided by and for sex workers. Sex workers themselves are the best positioned to know what is needed for them, and best placed to do something about it. The Red Umbrella Fund aims to mobilise resources to help strengthen and sustain the movement in achieving human rights for sex workers.
We recently wrote about how sex workers are often encouraged to take part in economic empowerment programmes when we published the briefing paper titled: ‘Economic Empowerment: Does Rehabilitation Have a Role?’
In the aftermath of Canada’s new “end demand” style policy on sex work, migrant sex workers (including those with legal status) are being swept up in crackdowns and police sweeps, which they say are endangering them.
On Tuesday the 30th of June, MasterCard announced that its credit cards can no longer be used to pay for ads on the Backpage.com website, following a request from Chicago’s Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart, who claimed the site is used by sex traffickers. The following day Visa announced that it, too, would no longer allow its credit cards to be used to make transactions through the website.
Thirty-five mayors from across the United States, including Bill de Blasio in New York City, Rahm Emanuel in Chicago and Eric Garcetti in Los Angeles, have lent their support to a growing campaign for an “end demand” style of law enforcement to be used against the clients of sex workers.
Across the Central and Eastern European region, several workshops have been held within the last month, focusing on STI prevention, human rights and sex worker activism, and highlighting the need for sex worker involvement in programmes and projects established on their behalf.
Sex workers in Canada held a national day of action across the country on Saturday, the 13th of June. The third annual Red Umbrella March was especially significant this year, following the introduction of new sex work legislation late last year.
At the end of last month, SWOP Houston formed, describing themselves as “a non-profit resource for community-building, organizing, and sharing support … run by and for sex workers”. To celebrate their launch, SWOP Houston held a kick-off brunch on the 2nd of June, which all current and former sex workers in the area were invited to attend.
This is the 12th issue of NSWP's quarterly newsletter ‘Sex Work Digest’, covering the period April - June 2015.
This resource is in English. You can download this 10 page PDF below.
International Sex Workers’ Day was celebrated by organisations around Brazil. In Rio, Belo Horizonte and Campinas (Southeast), Porto Alegre (South), Belém (North), Teresina and Campina Grande (Northeast), sex workers and activists took part in cultural and political activities including; workshops, media interviews, parades, a catwalk show, the distribution of leaflets, papers, flowers and chocolate candies to sex workers. Read some of these stories, right here.
On 21-23 April, 2015, Nepalese sex workers, drug users and Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Trans*,Intersex and Queer (GLBTIQ) people engaged in a 3 day Treatment Literacy Training program, undertaken as part of an International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC) initiative. Thirty peer representatives from Nepal’s national peer networks, Jagriti Mahila Maha Sangh (JMMS), the Federation of Female Sex Workers in Nepal, the Blue Diamond Society, and the National Users Network of Nepal (NUNN), participated in the training. This is was the second ITPC training program held in the Nepali capital of Kathmandu in 2015. The first program was held 26 - 28 January, 2015. Both training programs have been facilitated by NUNN.
The Swiss government has said that it is opposed to any new measures that would criminalise prostitution or the purchase of commercial services.
Despite the recent failure of a previous attempt, a new campaign has launched in Scotland that hopes to criminalise the purchase of commercial sexual services. The “End Prostitution Now” campaign wants to put pressure on the Scottish Government to end demand, which they describe as the "root cause" of the country's "commercial sexual exploitation". They plan to utilise social media campaigns and to urge people to write to their representatives to ask them to support the proposal.
Sex workers have been assembling in several manifestations in Paris and across France to protest the proposed criminalisation of their clients.
In the UK, a new programme has begun offering sex workers retraining for different forms of employment. Run by the HIV and sexual health charity, Terrence Higgins Trust, the Sex Workers and New Ambitions Project (SNAP) offers “support and training to achieve your employment goals alongside or outside of sex working”. Participants receive one-to-one mentoring, professional skills coaching, CV and job search advice and, if they want, support into volunteering and work experience.
On 28 May, 2015, the Nepalese Army imposed a strict 8pm curfew on entering and exiting the central Kathmandu, Tundikhel field where over a 1000 people are currently residing in tents following the 25 April 8.1 magnitude earthquake, which killed over 8000 people and left hundreds of thousands of people displaced.