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.
Sex work in Peru is not a crime, but sex workers are often treated as criminals. Ana Mamani and Norma Diaz from Arequipa, Peru share their struggle to combat the conflation between sex work and human trafficking with NSWP’s Latin America Regional Correspondent.
On the 11th of June, Canadian sex workers and their allies are mobilising in a National Day of Action. In June of 2013, as a response to Bedford v. Canada and the lack of sex worker representation during the debates around anti-sex work legislation being introduced, sex workers, sex worker rights groups and their allies across the country came together to raise awareness around the need for evidence-based sex work law reform.
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.