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 - 6 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.
Iceland adopted the harmful “Swedish Model” in 2009, which criminalises the clients of sex workers.. There is no sex worker-led organisation or service provider for sex workers in Iceland. Stígamót - Education and Counseling Center for Survivors of Sexual Abuse and Violence - is the only organisation that provides services to sex workers. However, they consider all sex workers as victims of violence.
‘This is Us” a museum in Thailand dedicated to documenting the lives and history of sex work is set to open to the public later this month. The museum is run by sex worker-led organisation Empower Foundation. Although the museum has existed for years, previously it was only open for private visits booked in advance.
Violent attacks against transgender people in Turkey continue unabated.
Hande Kader, a 23-year-old transgender woman based in Istanbul, disappeared a little over one week ago.
A new report by Asia Catalyst has brought attention to the impact of laws and policing on sex workers in China. Released on the 25th of July, The Condom Quandary: A Survey of the Impact of Law Enforcement Practices on Effective HIV Prevention among Male, Female, and Transgender Sex Workers in China highlights the severe and widespread impact of using condoms as evidence of sex work on sex workers. Drawing on the experiences of the 517 sex workers involved in the research, the report urges that sex work be decriminalised and that sex workers be properly consulted and recognised as key stakeholders in laws and policies concerning sex workers.
The 35th Global Fund Board Meeting was held on 26-27th April in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.
“The sex worker community has really stepped up,” says Alex Andrews when referring to the success of SWOP Behind Bars, which launched in late April of 2016. “It’s so awesome to see sex workers do tangible things like donating a book to an incarcerated sex worker and writing a letter. I mean that’s a lost art!
Quito has many organisations of sex workers, including "Por un Futuro Mejor" association with 280 members, "Esperanza Futuro" with more than 60 members, and "1° de Mayo" with more than 60 partners. In April they created a coalition to engage in dialogue with national and municipal authorities. The municipality has proposed to displace sex workers outside of the city, including the Cantera brothel in the historic district of Quito. The municipality would like to move sex workers from outdoor and visible locations into indoor and private locations.
Sex workers in Victoria, Australia are speaking out for the second time to highlight the ways they are blocked from or denied justice. On the 26th March 2015 serial rapist and murderer, Adrian Bayley was convicted of the rape of a sex worker that he had committed in 2000. However, on the 13th of July 2016 the Victorian Court of Appeal overturned it. The decision was labeled “disgusting” by Crime Victims Support Association President Noel McNamara who echoed statements made by sex workers, explaining how a message is being sent that crimes against sex workers will not be taken seriously.
In May of 2009, Marcia Powell died after being tortured in an Arizona prison. She was a 48-year-old woman who was sentenced to 27 months in prison for doing street based sex work.
A regional training on the SWIT (Sex Worker Implementation Tool) took place in Budapest on 21-25 June 2016. Teams from 7 countries attended the training: Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Georgia, Macedonia, Serbia. Among them were female, male and transgender sex workers.
On the 7th of June, armed police and “NVaders” a rescue organisation from New Zealand targeted “Nataree” – a brothel that employs 400 sex workers in Bangkok. The joint forces conducted a raid and apprehended 121 sex workers who were working at the time. Media were invited to film the raid.
Sharmus Outlaw, declared Most Amazing HIV-Positive People of 2016 by HIV Plus Magazine, died on the 8th of July from cancer. Outlaw is currently being honoured by her devoted colleagues at the Desiree Alliance Conference for the very session she planned: Trans Rights, Sex Work, HIV, Resilience and Organizing.
On the 20th of May in Brantford, Ontario (Canada), a report was released by Dr. Stacey Hannem and the organisation REAL that assesses the needs of rural sex workers. The report is called “Let’s Talk About Sex Work: Report of the REAL working group for Brantford, Brant, Haldimand and Norfolk. Assessing the Needs of Sex Workers in Our Communities.” The full report is available here.
Sex workers’ organisations have raised concerns about a new anti-trafficking law in India, called the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill. Women and Child Development minister Maneka Gandhi introduced the bill in India on the 31st of May.
The Desiree Alliance Conference is an event many sex workers and allies attend if they are capable of travelling to and within the United States. It is an opportunity to network, skill share, learn and advocate for the rights of sex workers. This year’s conference is from 10-15 July, 2016 in New Orleans. The preliminary conference schedule is available here.
The Africa Sex Workers Alliance (ASWA), Sisonke, and the Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP) is delighted to invite sex workers from around the world who will be attending the International AIDS Conference (AIDS2016) in Durban, South Africa from 18-22 July 2016 to join us at a sex worker pre-meeting on Sunday 17th July 2016.
A majority of Members of Parliament (MPs) in Holland are supporting plans to make it an offence to pay for sex if sex workers are known or suspected to be victims of human trafficking. Sex work itself is legal in Holland.
On the 26th of May, 2016 in Machala, Ecuador a meeting took place with the Governor, local authorities, brothel owners, leaders of the Asociación 22 de Junio, Flor de Azalea, PLAPERTS Ecuador and 80 female sex workers. There was a protest to reject the new schedule for the tolerance zones for sex work. The proposed schedule would only allow for sex work to occur from Monday to Saturday from 11:00 to 20:00.