This following text has been translated by NSWP’s European Regional Correspondent. The text is from a petition entitled “Punish Vyacheslav Datsika of Beatings and Abuse of Sex Workers in St. Petersburg!” on Change.org. NSWP member Silver Rose encourages the global sex work community to sign this petition. NSWP has reported on the violence experienced by sex workers in Russia during this incident here.
During the night of 17th to 18th of May, Viacheslav Datsik and his supporters illegally raided a brothel (known as a “salon” in Russia) in St Petersburg where 10 sex workers were working. The salon was on the 11th Line of Vasilyevsky Island. He broke down the door and under the threat of beating the women working there he forced them to undress completely, and then took them to the police naked.
Dancers in Mumbai are apprehensive about new laws that passed on the 13th of April 2016. The new laws have stringent conditions that limit dancers’ ability to earn a decent wage. The new laws do not address many of the concerns that Bar Dancers have raised.
The Australian State Government of New South Wales has continued its support for decriminalisation. Sex workers were concerned the inquiry into brothel regulation that begun in 2015 could have resulted in the introduction of a licensing framework and/or a specialised police squad for the sex industry. These measures would end decriminalisation, despite its documented success since it was introduced in 1995.
In Mexico, sex work is considered a public health problem because it is associated with the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Due to this, health regulation is based on reducing or eliminating the effects of sex work on the general population, through mandatory health checks and sanitary control. This comes at a high economic cost for sex workers and violates their human rights.
HIV/AIDS Research and Welfare Centre (HARC) organised a three-day workshop for sex workers in Bangladesh from the 17th to 19th of April, 2016. A total of thirty-nine sex workers took part in the workshop in Rajshahi, a city in northwest Bangladesh close to the border with India. APNSW Regional Coordinator Kay Thi Win, and Consultant Habib Rahman facilitated the workshop.
The State council in the district of Saint-Josse, Brussels, ordered the suspension of the police regulation of window sex work on the 30th of November, 2015.
The Latin American Platform of Sex Workers (PLAPERTS) is shocked by the murder of their colleague Angelica Miriam Quintanilla, who was Director of LIQUIDAMBAR, a sex worker-led organisation in El Salvador. In March 2016, sex workers from Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico and Peru received the news that LIQUIDAMBAR wanted to join PLAPERTS. Just as quickly, PLAPERTS received news of her murder. The image above shows LIQUIDAMBAR at a protest with PLAPERTS. Angelica is to the far left.
The Global Fund is an organisation that supports programmes to fight AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. Founded in 2002, the Global Fund is a partnership between governments, civil society, the private sector and people affected by AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. The Global Fund disburses billions of US Dollars to support responses to the three diseases.
On the 29th of April, 2016, sex work leaders in Kampala, Uganda, met to discuss the formation of a new sex worker-led network. They decided to form the Uganda Network for Sex Workers Organization (UNESO) to replace the former Uganda Harmonized Rights Alliance.
In a three-day intensive training, African sex workers were trained as Regional Community Experts for the Global Fund.
The technical assistance training for regional sex workers experts included sex workers from Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the ASWA Regional Secretariat. Sex workers learned the skills and knowledge that they will use to train sex workers in other countries on the Global Fund and its processes.
Empower Thailand and the Thai Embassy in Sweden have both issued statements in response to the Swedish magazine OTTAR. On the 3rd of March 2016, OTTAR published an interview with Kasja Ekis Ekman, which referred to Thai sex workers as “cheap pussy.”
This update is part of the Robert Carr Civil Society Networks Fund grant to provide Global Fund workshops in collaboration with NSWP members. There will be three more updates throughout the year that NSWP will share with members.
NSWP's first update is about the 35th Global Fund Board Meeting, which will take place in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire on the 26-27th April 2016.
The municipality of Lima, in collaboration with the National Police of Peru (PNP), the Research Crime Administration (DIRINCRI, as it is known is Spanish) as well as those in charge of the Human Trafficking Division, conduct frequent operations that result in the closure of bars, clubs, pubs, and inns where sex workers work.
A session called “Reclaiming Rights: Sex Workers Speak” was held on the first day of the 12th International Conference on AIDS in the Asia Pacific (ICAAP) in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The conference ran from the 12 -14 of March.
Ángela Villón, a 50-year-old woman, a sex worker, a mother and active advocate for the rights of sex workers, ran for Congress and lost on the 10th of April, 2016. Despite loosing, she decided to support her running mate Veronica Mendoza from the Frente Amplio party. Veronica Mendoza also supports sex workers’ rights and works with Ángela Villón. Veronica Mendoza is running for president, and the vote will take place on the 5th of June, 2016.
In Mexico, there is a conflation between human trafficking and sex work. Sex work stigmatised, and sex workers experience marginalisation and discrimination, which violates their human rights. Addressing these issues has required raising awareness within various segments of society.
NSWP member APROASE warned Mexicans about the negative impact that the Law Against Human Trafficking would have on both the recognition of sex work as work and on the human rights of sex workers.
The French Parliament passed a bill on the 6th of April, 2016 which makes it illegal to pay for sex in France. Selling sex remains legal. The bill passed 64 to 12 in the National Assembly, France’s lower house, with 501 deputies abstaining from the vote.
Sex Workers in West Bengal are using the upcoming election to remind politicians they need to keep their promises. Sex workers may exercise the ‘none of the above option’ (NOTA) on ballots to tell politicians that they are not happy with them. Many politicians have not shown commitment to taking action on the demands of sex worker-led organisations, as reported by The Statesman.
Members from five Pacific countries met with the APNSW Secretariat in November 2015. Representatives from Friends Frangipani (Papua New Guinea), New Zealand Prostitutes Collective (NZPC), Survivors Advocacy Network (SAN-Fiji), Scarlet Alliance (Australia) and $carlet Timor Collective (Timor-Leste) took part in the meeting in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Dr. Kamala Kempadoo made local news in Barbados after calling for the decriminalisation of sex work in the Caribbean.
An Oklahoma sex worker has pleaded guilty to charges after being caught on camera by a vigilante’s drone camera. NSWP has chosen not to reproduce the sex worker’s name to reduce the harm of media visibility in her case. She has been sentenced to one year in state prison for the misdemeanor charge. Her alleged client’s case remains pending.
An Oklahoma City resident has made it his personal mission to surveil sex workers and post the footage on his website and YouTube Channel. In this case, he also sent the footage to the police.
Yesterday, the Constitutional Court in South Korea ruled 6 to 3 to reject a petition to overturn the ‘Anti-Sex Trade Laws’. The laws state that anyone found guilty of buying or selling sex will face up to one year in prison or be fined up to 3 million Won (approximately 2,300 EURO or 2,600 USD).
In the 1980s, in response to rising HIV infections, Edinburgh City Council developed a licensed brothel system giving “saunas” public entertainment licenses knowing that sex was being sold on the premises. The local police force, Lothian and Borders Police, supported this system and would perform annual inspections on the saunas and support the renewal of their licenses.
On the 3rd of March, International Sex Worker's Rights Day, sex workers across India gathered to ask that their human rights be respected.
Members of the All India Network of Sex Workers asked for understanding and respect of sex workers from government and civil society. Their campaign called for workers’ rights, a society free from discrimination and violence, an understanding of the difference between trafficking and sex work, inclusion in policy making processes and the decriminalisation of sex work.