Research for Sex Work is a publication intended for sex workers, activists, health workers, researchers, NGO staff and policymakers. It is published annually by the Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP) and is governed by an Editorial Board consisting of sex workers, staff of support organisations and researchers.
The Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations, (AFAO), the national body whose membership is made up of national peer-led organisations, including, Scarlet Alliance, the Australian Sex Workers’ Association; the Australian Injecting and Illicit Drug Users League (AIVL); and the National Association of People with HIV Australia (NAPWHA); recently published a series of articles in its flagship magazine-style publication,
Sex workers and sex worker rights activists across the world have been campaigning tirelessly these past few weeks to highlight the importance of a call for the full decriminalisation of sex work. Many sex worker groups and allies across the world wrote to Amnesty International’s Secretary General in support of the proposed policy on sex work. One such letter, from Empower Foundation in Thailand - which has been advocating for the rights of Thai sex workers for over 30 years - wrote:
“Criminalization has not led to increased human rights or reduced abuses; it has only led to more stigma and more real crimes.’
Amnesty International joins other major international agencies such as UNAIDS, WHO, Human Rights Watch, the Lancet, GAATW in the call for the full decriminalisation of sex work. Sex workers and our allies’ campaign for the full decriminalisation of sex work to: Promote safe working conditions and labour rights for sex workers; Increase access to health services and reduce sex workers’ risk of HIV and STIs; Increase sex workers’ access to justice; Reduce police abuse and violence; Help to tackle exploitation and coercion when it does occur.
NSWP membership comprises 237 sex worker-led organisations in 71 countries across the globe, including local organisations as well as national and regional networks. Our regional networks in the Global South and Global North represent many thousands of sex workers who actively oppose the criminalisation and other legal oppression of sex work.
Trabajadoras Sexuales Organizadas e Independientes, Bailarinas de Table Dance, Meseras, y empleadas de diferentes lugares de trabajo, realizaron este 30 de Julio día Internacional contra la Trata de Personas, una marcha para protestar contra los operativos realizados por la Fiscalía de Trata de Personas de la Procuraduría del Distrito Federal. Con mantas y pancartas exigieron el alto a las acciones ministeriales que las victimizan y las violentan como resultado de la ley de trata de personas.
En Coatzacoalcos Veracruz se violaron los derechos de un trabajador sexual, esta violación fue debido a por vivir con VIH se le despido de su empleo que era un bar.
In Charleston, West Virginia, a sex worker killed a man in self-defense, later to discover that he may have been a serial killer.
The 45-year-old man, named Neal Falls, arranged to meet the woman, identified only as Heather, through Backpage.com. When he arrived at the woman's home, he was armed with a gun and allegedly asked ‘Live or die?’ when she opened the door then began choking her.
In 2013, The WHO together with UNFPA, UNAIDS, UNDP the Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP) and the World Bank published ‘ Implementing Comprehensive HIV/STI Programmes with Sex Workers: Practical Approaches from Collaborative Interventions' or the SWIT as the document has become known, The SWIT reaffirms that the health of sex workers doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and that countries should work towards the decriminalisation of sex work, and the empowerment and self-determination of sex working communities, as a fundamental part of the fight against HIV. The SWIT is available in French, Spanish, Russian and English at present. Links to the foreign language versions can be found here (scroll down to end of article for links).
This guide is aimed at sex workers as a quick reference guide to help sex workers understand the Global Fund and its complex structures. The guide is helpful to sex worker organisations who are already receiving funding from the Global Fund as well as to those who hope to receive funding from the Fund in the future.
In an effort to network, build solidarity, increase understanding and contribute towards greater tolerance between the Singaporean sex worker and Muslim communities, Project X, Singapore’s sex worker advocacy network, invited a prominent Muslim speaker, Mr. Mohamed Imran, to a weekly sex worker discussion group, Kopi Session.
NSWP has mobilised in support of Amnesty International following the recent backlash against Amnesty International’s Resolution and draft policy calling for the decriminalisation of sex work, which is tabled for adoption at their International Council Meeting, 6-11th August 2015.
The Amnesty International resolution ‘REQUESTS the International Board adopt a policy that seeks attainment of the highest possible protection of the human rights of sex workers, through measures that include the decriminalisation of sex work’.
In mid-July, a 20 year-old transgender sex worker was shot dead in Georgetown, Guyana, apparently following an altercation with a client, which, some reports say, may have been a case of mistaken identity.
Australian sex workers in the state of Victoria have formalised the program for the 2015 Festival of Sex Work.
Australian sex worker network and NSWP member Scarlet Alliance published their report: ‘Stepping up to the evidence on HIV and Sex Work: Decriminalise Sex Work Now! Sex Workers at AIDS 2014’ last week. This much anticipated report demonstrates the strong sex worker presence at the 20th International AIDS Conference - AIDS 2014 in Melbourne, July 2014.
The online classified web site Backpage.com, long used by sex workers as a low-cost means of advertising their services and screening clients, has announced that it is allowing users to post ads for free to the adult services section of its site.
In April 2015, the Open Society Foundations convened a meeting of experts and advocates concerned about the future of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, particularly in the areas of preserving support to important programs in middle-income countries.
The Red Umbrella Fund gives grants to sex worker-led groups and networks that are registered or unregistered. In 2015, we expect to make about 12 core funding grants to local and national sex worker-led organisations and networks. The Red Umbrella Fund is the first global fund guided by and for sex workers. Sex workers themselves are the best positioned to know what is needed for them, and best placed to do something about it. The Red Umbrella Fund aims to mobilise resources to help strengthen and sustain the movement in achieving human rights for sex workers.
We recently wrote about how sex workers are often encouraged to take part in economic empowerment programmes when we published the briefing paper titled: ‘Economic Empowerment: Does Rehabilitation Have a Role?’
In the aftermath of Canada’s new “end demand” style policy on sex work, migrant sex workers (including those with legal status) are being swept up in crackdowns and police sweeps, which they say are endangering them.
On Tuesday the 30th of June, MasterCard announced that its credit cards can no longer be used to pay for ads on the Backpage.com website, following a request from Chicago’s Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart, who claimed the site is used by sex traffickers. The following day Visa announced that it, too, would no longer allow its credit cards to be used to make transactions through the website.