Kemalita Ördek, the executive director of the Red Umbrella Sexual Health and Human Rights Association, a transgender sex worker and human rights activist, was violently attacked by 3 criminals in her house in Ankara in July 2015. All 3 attackers were found guilty and sentenced.
The Philippine Sex Workers Collective is speaking out against human rights violations against sex workers and drug users. In a statement on their website published on 27 October, the collective explains how oppression against drug users is similar to oppression against sex workers and it is important to stand in solidarity with anyone whose rights are violated.
The 11th Harm Reduction Conference took place in San Diego, California from 3-6 November. It included workshops, talks, and panels with American sex work organisations such as HIPS, SWOP-USA and independent sex work activists like Emi Koyama, who works out of Portland and Seattle. Koyama is active in American sex work advocacy. She presents workshops and speaking on panels at conferences such as the Desiree Alliance and The Seattle Annual Sex Work Symposium hosted by SWOP Seattle.
Niurkeli, a 33-year-old transgender sex worker, was murdered by a client in Nantes, France. Niurkeli was migrant sex worker of Ecuadorian origin. She was living in Paris with her family. Since 2014 her work conditions have deteriorated. “She was known in the sex worker community and often went to demos for sex workers' rights and against criminalisation,” said Thierry Schaffauser from STRASS.
In Sacramento California, police continue to raid and close massage parlours. These raids are devastating for the sex workers employed in the parlours who, when left without adequate income sources, often find themselves homeless.
On 24 February 2016, 19 women in the Dedza District of Malawi were arrested and fined. They were charged with living off the avails of prostitution. On 8 September 2016, the Zomba High Court ruled that the Dedza Magistrate had no jurisdiction to hear the case and that the arrest of the women was unconstitutional. According to the court, the law was meant to protect sex workers against exploitation. However, the law was being used to arrest, detain, and fine sex workers and this violated their human rights.
On the 18 of October, COSWAS, sex workers and allies held a protest outside the Taipei City Government. Protesters asked for the decriminalisation of sex work, for an end to illegal entrapment practices targeting sex workers, and for the government to stop ignoring sex workers. They are asking for safe and legal places to work.
From 11-15 October, hundreds of Canadian sex workers in nine provinces were subjected to a fifth and final round of sting operations under the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) initiative "Operation Northern Spotlight." These sting operations involve police officers booking fake appointments with sex workers to gain access to their work spaces.
The main focus of the Global Fund Board and the NGO Communities Delegations has been the Global Fund’s 5th Voluntary Replenishment, which was held in Montreal, Canada, in September 2016.
In Uganda, commercial sex work is illegal and perceived as immoral and socially unacceptable. As a stigmatised and often criminalised group, sex workers are frequently the victims of human rights abuses, including sexual violence. Historically, the majority of sex workers have lacked adequate access to information about their rights, safe sex, health services, and equality before the law. In turn, this has significant implications for basic safety, the spread of HIV/AIDs, and unwanted pregnancies.
Laura Lee has won High Court permission to challenge a new law criminalising clients in Northern Ireland. She will also challenge Ireland's brothel keeping laws.
In 2015, Northern Ireland adopted the “Swedish Model”, which criminalises the clients of sex workers, despite the fact that “independent research by Northern Ireland’s Department of Justice showed that no locally based sex workers surveyed supported criminalising the purchase of sex, with 61 percent believing it would make them less safe and 85 per cent saying it would not reduce sex trafficking.”
The Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers (APNSW) in collaboration with the Vietnam Sex Workers Network (VNSW) organised a training from the 22-24 August in Hanoi, Vietnam on the Global Fund. Seventeen sex workers representing 12 sex worker-led organisations from across the nation attended the training.
The Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers (APNSW) facilitated a 3-day training in Kathmandu, Nepal from the 21-23 of September. Twenty-three male, female, and transgender sex workers from attended the workshop across the nation. Sex worker participants represented JMMS, Nepal’s National Federation of Female Sex Workers; and Blue Diamond Society, Nepal’s national GLBTIQ representative network.
“It’s my first time in the academy and it has really opened my eyes as far as sex worker advocacy and movement is concerned,” said Precious Zuzu.
Zuzu, who is from Swaziland’s Family Life Association, was among 18 participants from Swaziland, Cameroon and Kenya who were selected to attend the 10th Sex Worker Africa Academy (SWAA).
Carl Ferrer, the chief executive officer of Backpage.com was arrested on Thursday the 6th of October. He was charged with conspiracy and pimping a minor. Backpage.com is used by thousands of sex workers worldwide to advertise their services.
The Legal Aid Society of New York and the law firm Cleary Gottlieb have launched a constitutional challenge on behalf of women of colour, many of whom are transgender, who have been wrongly arrested under New York Penal Law Section 240.37. “The plaintiffs challenge Section 240.37, loitering for the purpose of prostitution, because it is unconstitutional on its face and also because it is unlawfully enforced by NYPD officers who target women for arrest based on race, gender, ethnicity, gender identity, and/or appearance,” says the Society. The Society goes on to note that, “under Section 240.37, a woman can be improperly arrested and detained simply because an officer takes issue with her clothing or appearance and decides that her purpose is to engage in prostitution.”
Sex workers and sex worker rights organisations in the United States are joining many HIV/AIDS, LGBT, and other civil society organisations to oppose Proposition 60 – “The California Safer Sex in the Adult Film Industry Act.”
Khwaja sara (also known as Hijra, third gender or transgender) sex workers in Pakistan experience stigma, discrimination and criminalisation, as well as lack of rights and access to healthcare.
Gulmakai, a khwaja sara sex worker, says hostility towards khwaja saras is "embedded at every level, from every day affairs to the government". Sex work is an occupation in which khwaja saras are able to make a living, unlike many other industries which continue to heavily discriminate and exclude member of her community.
This year before the 13th AWID International Forum, AWID hosted the Black Feminism Forum (BFF) from the 5-6 of September. During the BFF, there was a sex worker-led session called “Sex Work and Feminism: what does it mean to be an African sex worker feminist?” organised by Ntokozo Yingwana and Onkokame Mosweu from the African Sex Workers’ Alliance, Amaka Enemo from the Nigeria Sex Workers’ Association, and Sanyu Batte from Lady Mermaid’s Bureau.
NSWP’s Regional Correspndent in Latin America Ana Karen Lopez Quintana met with Aruba Williams Ortiz Nájera tells, a transgender woman, sex worker activist, and defender of human rights, gender equality, and sexual diversity. Aruba is the president of Tamaulipas Diversity Vihda Trans AC, member of the women's Committee of the National Center for Prevention and Control of HIV/AIDS (CENSIDA) and representative of the Plataforma Latinoamericana de Personas que Ejercen el Trabajo Sexual Chapter Mexico (PLAPERTS).
Thousands of women, including sex workers protested violence (physical, sexual, and psychological) that women face in Peru on the 13 of August. There was a national march in 24 difference cities across the country. Sex worker-led organisations such as "Mujeres del Sur" of Arequipa, " Movimiento de trabajadoras sexuales de Peru", "Miluska Vida y Dignidad", "Angel Azul" and "Cambio y Accion", and “PLAPERTS” participated in the march. They chanted in one voice, “Ni una mujer menos víctima de violencia” “Ni una trabajadora sexual menos.”
NSWP is rallying a call for UN Women to engage in a meaningful consultation with sex workers as they develop their policy on sex work. NSWP has started an online petition here, and encourage all sex workers, sex workers’ rights activists, and allies to sign and share the petition.
From the 1 - 5 of August a regional training on the Sex Worker Implementation Tool took place for sex workers in the city of Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico. The training occurred at the hotel Dos Playas and included representatives of sex worker-led organisations in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Mexico.
The Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers (APNSW) in collaboration with the HIV/AIDS Research and Welfare Centre (HARC) organised a 3-day training from the 4-6 September 2016 the on Sex Workers Implementation Tool (SWIT). A total of 25 sex workers from various cities across Bangladesh participated in the training.