Nilay, a 33-year-old transgender sex worker was found dead November 23rd in her house in Maltepe, Istanbul, several days after Transgender Day of Remembrance. Police responded to an Istanbul LGBTI activist who requested information by saying “she is already dead, why do you care?”
African sex workers’ rights activists were recently trained on how work with regional, and international human rights processes in Port Louis, Mauritius. The goal of the training was to help sex workers’ right activists work with the African Commission on Human and People's Rights (ACPHR) as well as other human rights mechanisms including treaty bodies and conventions, to hold their countries accountable when their rights are violated.
Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer failed to appear in a US Congressional Hearing on November 19th. Ferrer may face contempt charges as a result. “Definance of a congressional subpoena is rare and it’s serious,” said Senator Rob Portman. Portman and Senator Claire McCaskill are leading a subcommittee investigation into Backpage’s supposed involvement in ‘sex trafficking’.
NSWP member organisation Butterfly – Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Network have called for an end to anti-trafficking campaigns in Canada. Joining the call are No One Is Illegal, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, STRUT, and NSWP member organisations Migrant Sex Workers Project and Maggie’s: Toronto’s Sex Worker Action Project. The group of organisations are centering the voices of migrant sex workers. Migrant sex workers in Canada face police harassment, arrest, detention, and deportation.
California voters will have the chance to vote on restricting porn performers to using condoms next year. California Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced the upcoming 2016 vote earlier this month, according to the Washington Post. The vote comes after several years of campaigning by AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF).
The Czech Republic introduces training for sex workers to provide legal, paid services to people with disabilities. Five sex workers, called sexual assistants, were trained by the Czech charity Rozkoš bez Rizika (Bliss without Risk). Their services are approved by the Interior Ministry. Sex work in Czech Republic is not illegal, but organised sex work is prohibited. Despite this the sex industry is widespread.
Sex workers in Vancouver, Canada, are planning to create a permanent memorial for their coworkers. Sex workers announced their plans at a community meeting on November 4, 2015.
The West End Sex Work Memorial Project was founded by sex worker activist Jamie Lee Hamilton and sociologist Becki Ross of the University of British Columbia. The memorial is planned for Vancouver’s West End, an area where many sex workers worked in the 1970s-80s.
The Tajik Parliament wants to abolish sex work. They are introducing harsher measures under the Administrative Liability Code, hoping this will deter sex workers from working in the industry. According to the Tajik news source Ozodi, under new and harsher rules set out in the Administrative Liability Code, sex workers caught breaking the law for the first time will be required to pay double what they paid in the past.
The Winnipeg Working Group for Sex Workers’ Rights is speaking out against claims that a major sporting event will increase “sex trafficking” in their city. In the lead up to the Grey Cup, a football event, government officials have set up over $45,000 CAD worth of funds to combat “human trafficking” in Winnipeg. The funds will be used to set up a phone hotline and an awareness campaign called Buying Sex is Not a Sport.
Recent media reporting on sex work in various African countries show that sex workers continue to be portrayed negatively. Media outlets are further stereotyping sex workers using unsavouraly labels as well as portraying them in negative light. For example, in Kenya, one media station said sex workers ‘prey’ on married men while another termed them as ‘greedy’.
The African Sex Workers Alliance (ASWA) is co-organising a key populations pre-conference for this year’s International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA) in Zimbabwe.
Local LGBT, sex worker, and Haitian women’s groups are speaking out against the violation of their rights in the Dominican Republic, reports Diario Libre. Haitian women and members of the LGBT community are often cited as victims of “sex trafficking” in the Dominican Republic. Many work in the sex industry due to job discrimination. NSWP’s Briefing Paper, Sex Work is Not Trafficking, explores this topic.
The African Sex Workers Alliance (ASWA) sends condolences to the family and friends of Joel Gustave Nana, the immediate former Executive Director of African Men for Sexual Health and Rights (AMSHER), who passed away last month.
Dutch sex workers working without a brothel license may risk a prison sentence of up to six months. The Act Regulating Prostitution (WRP) proposes to criminalise all sex workers without licensure, including sex workers who work alone and camgirls/camboys. According to the Research and Documentation Centre of the Ministry of Justice and Safety, this will affect one third of all sex workers. Parliament will vote on the law proposal before the end of the year. Most political parties have expressed their support of the law.
There are unique challenges for African trans sex workers in their lives and work. Two trans sex workers in Uganda and South Africa have shared the unique challenges they face, including transphobia. ASWA board member and trans sex worker from Uganda, Beyonce Karungi as well as refugee trans sex worker, Flavina from South Africa, have both shared their life stories in articles published recently.
PrEP should be easily accessible to sex workers in Nigeria as an HIV prevention tool, an activist has urged with the Nigerian Sex Workers’ Alliance. Writing for the HIVE, an online journal on sexual and reproductive health, the coordinator of the Nigerian Sex Workers Alliance, Narah (a pseudonym), said that sex workers are being left behind when PrEP is offered.
Sex workers in three Southern African countries are the first beneficiaries of a programme that will see provide free HIV self-testing kits. Population Services International (PSI) is rolling out oral-swab HIV self-test kits to sex workers and other key populations in Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. According to PSI, the self-testing kits are important because many people have not been tested because of stigma or limited access to health care facilities.
Stigmatisation and discrimination of sex workers at hospitals has been identified as one of the key barriers in accessing health services, a study has shown.
The study, conducted by the Center for Sexual Health and HIV/AIDS Research (CeSHHAR) indicates that, in some hospitals and clinics in Zimbabwe, sex workers face hostile reception from health care providers and this hampers their access to HIV related treatment and care.
Squirt, a Canadian gay sex website owned by Pink Triangle Press, announced October 21st that they have pulled escort ads from their service according to Daily Xtra.
On Wednesday October 14, the French Senate, which holds a conservative party majority, threw out a bill passed by the National Assembly in 2013 that proposes to criminalise the clients of sex workers. Clients of sex workers would be liable for fines up to €1,500 for a first offence and €3,750 for repeated offences. Senators voted 190 to 117 against the bill.
Research for Sex Work is a peer-reviewed international journal that incorporates community-led research and lived experiences, and reports on sex work within a rights-based framework. NSWP Is seeking contributions that document and reflect on sex workers’ resistance and resilience to various forms of oppression.
The Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP) hosts the new website of PLAPERTS, the Latin American platform of sex workers people, and its networks and organisations in Latin America, creating a space to share resources across the region.
The International Network of People who Use Drugs (INPUD) and the Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP) have written a briefing paper focussing on the experiences, views, needs, and rights of sex workers who use drugs. The Briefing Paper discusses existing research and writing, and also includes case studies from sex worker-led and drug user-led organisations on the perspectives and experiences of sex workers who use drugs, and on how best to meet the needs of this community.
The Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP) stands by Human Rights Defender Alejandra Gil and Amnesty International’s decision to adopt a policy to protect the human rights of sex workers, including the full decriminalisation of sex work.